calm before the storm?

I’ve had the phrase “calm before the storm” on my mind quite a lot this week. As I anticipate my first year of full time teaching beginning next week, I’m facing the reality that solitude and quiet will soon be replaced by the bustling noise of a new school year.

And yet at the same time I’m realizing that “calm” often isn’t the right descriptor, even in times of quiet and anticipation. For one, I feel anything but calm. I’m busy. My to-do list keeps growing and there are still moments when I pause and reflect on my new responsibilities. Director. Yikes! I also realize that times of waiting, even if paced differently, are rarely calm. Excitement, stress, and busyness all characterize this time.

I’m realizing that waiting and preparation are rarely passive, or in this case, calm. Someone noted to me this week is more like the swell before the storm. In sailor’s terms, the swell is the choppy water that comes before a storm. On the water, one can’t be passive while waiting for the storm to arrive. The swell brings it’s own worries. It’s the same in life.

Amidst all the to-do’s, meetings, and last-minute preparations, I engage each day with its mix worry and absence of calm. Such is life in the swell before the storm.

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mt. 6:34).

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness” (Ps. 86:11).


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