Pray for a Soft Landing
I’m driving on I-526 from West Ashley back toward home. Ahead of me is one of my favorite spots, the bridge across the Ashley River. It is one of those rare surprises along an interstate highway where the beauty makes you wish you could just slow down or pull over to enjoy the view. The scene changes according to sunlight and weather. Today the water is a choppy gray, reflecting the menacing storm clouds rolling in. It a strange day indeed. There are no cars in sight. I have the road to myself.
The first splatters of rain hit the windshield as I enter the outer edge of the storm. I see the white sheets of hard rain bearing down on me. In Charleston, drivers hit the brakes at the first drop of rain. With no one around to slow down for, I ignore my brake pedal – accelerate a little, even. I turn the windshield wipers on high and notice the storm’s increasing fierceness. The rain bands ahead look black, not white. The gusts of wind blow my little Nissan around like a toy car. I know I should be more cautious, but I feel exhilaration, not fear.
Suddenly I understand what I’m seeing. It isn’t a heavy band of black rain. It’s a rain-wrapped tornado. It lifts me up and spins me wildly around. My stomach drops and my equilibrium shifts like I’m on a carnival ride. Still, I feel no fear. My first thought is, “I can’t believe this is happening.” My second thought is a prayer, “Dear God, whenever I land, please let me land softly.”
Then I woke up.
Another storm dream. I’ve written about my storm dreams before. It was 4 a.m. I shifted positions in the bed and replayed the dream over and over in my mind for the next hour. It is so unlike me to dream about a storm and feel no fear. The feeling of spinning out of control up in the air seemed so real. I wondered if maybe I’d experienced a vertigo spell in my sleep. Yet I wasn’t dizzy now. Finally I fell back asleep.
It has been one of those weeks. Both of my parents are sick – very sick. I feel so helpless and so far away. My brother has been with them and has been so good about keeping me informed, but the reality of entering the sandwich generation slapped me in the face this week – hard. Holy Week is quickly approaching. There are extra services to plan, accompanied by the extra pressure to make sure they are extra good since it may well be the only time some people attending will be in church all year. My outdoor kitty, Levi, has gone missing. My heart hurts and I find myself looking for him and calling him constantly. Everything seems topsy-turvy.
Then today I had an experience – for the most part unbloggable – that felt a lot like my dream last night. I saw it coming, but never touched the brakes. In fact, I may have accelerated a little. I maybe should have felt fear, but instead I felt exhilarated. I may have momentarily lost my equilibrium, but I never lost my head.
My first thought was, “I can’t believe this is happening.”
And my second? “Dear God, whenever I land, please let me land softly.”