Meet our new guest blogger, Andrew Coenen.


We live in a chaotic world. Not that you need me to tell you that, I’m sure. The cogs of the universe turn mindlessly, and they are often fickle, cruel even. In these times, we are all too often reminded of this, and worse yet, we are reminded of how little control we have over fate. The universe has a lot of bad in it, I think we all know that. But I’m here to tell you– to remind you, really– that the bad isn’t the whole story.



When I was a little boy, I was terrified of thunderstorms. After hearing about tornados destroying towns and people being struck by lightning (and not even getting fantastic superpowers!) I was certain that these powerful displays of nature carried nothing with them but fear and destruction. One hot, muggy night as I was getting ready for bed, the wind started to pick up, and soon our little townhouse was shaking with the sounds of rain bombarding the rooftop, beams creaking and bowing at the behest of gales, and echoing booms of thunder. Ok, the verbiage there may be just a teensy bit extreme, but that’s what it felt like to 7-year-old me. I was scared silly.



I remember sitting on the floor, looking out the window, when my dad and brother came into the room we all shared. They sat down next to me and we all huddled under the same blanket, and then my dad told me something that completely baffled me. He liked storms. Sure, he explained, there’s a lot of destructive power there, but seeing such a primal force of nature in action, blowing and booming and bombarding all the same, regardless of the activities you and I concern ourselves with every day, it holds a unique beauty. With all of our technology and jobs and politics and relationships, it’s easy to forget that humanity might not be quite as big of a deal as we think we are. It’s scary to see, absolutely, but somehow, for some reason, it’s also beautiful.



We stayed up past my bedtime that night, watching the purple lightning bolts streak across the sky as I had my first paradigm shift I can remember. From that night on, I’ve loved thunderstorms, and they are now without question my favorite kind of weather. They remind me of the humility of mankind. They remind me of the love I felt from my family that day. They remind me how even fear, even destruction, even the nasty, horrible, cruel things that happen every day in this world, they have a purpose. They can cleanse us, water us, and enable us to grow into a better world.



You can’t stop the rain from falling. Whatever your storm is, it’s gonna quit when it decides to quit, and no matter how much you prepare, there’s always the chance it’ll blow your preparations away and you’ll be left wet and tired and scared in the face of something stronger than you. But you don’t have to be alone. When this beautiful, scary world is throwing all it’s got at us again and again, that’s when we have to be there for each other. To love one another. To huddle under a blanket together. Because if we do, maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to see the beauty too.

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