by Dina SleimanI hate talking about the weather!
Why? Because more often than not, the topic of weather serves as a substitute for more meaningful conversations. Unless of course, the discussion about weather leads us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and others. Ah! Now there is a conversation I would like to have. The way we weather life’s storms actually reveals much about our character, be those storms metaphorical or literal.
I live along the Eastern coast in Virginia Beach. Prime hurricane part of the earth, I bet you’re thinking. True and not true. Evidently ever since 1985 when Pat Robertson and a group of believers stood on the shores of Virginia Beach and rebuked the deadly Hurrican Gloria, our area has been oddly impervious to hurricanes. I guess you could describe that as a gift of miracles. My mother reports that the Weather Channel has actually called this phenomenon the “Robertson Twist.” Hurricanes tend to hit just above or just below our Hampton Roads area.
I’ve ridden out numerous hurricanes. Other than making sure we have a little extra food and water and checking the flashlights for batteries, we generally enjoy these storms as a peaceful interlude from life, kind of like a snow day up north.
Now my mother has a real gift of faith. She figured no matter how hard the winds might blow around her, God would keep her and her home safe. “A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you,”* and all that.
I, on the other hand, have a gift of wisdom. And for the first time in eleven years of life in Virginia Beach, my wisdom gifting was telling me to hightail it north to Pittsburgh. Mom consented to the trip, although confident her home would weather the storm just fine.
So we piled my three kids and her dog into my van and headed north to Pittsburgh for a pleasant little vacation. While touring the Pittsburgh Zoo with the children, I got a call on my cell phone from a neighbor. “Dina, there’s a giant tree on your house. Are you okay?”
I laughed. “I’m fine. Enjoying a nice day at the zoo. We’ll deal with it when we get back.” Boy was I glad I hadn’t been at home with the kids when that tree came thudding overhead.
A few days later, we returned home. As it turned out, the tree that fell on our house had been attached by sturdy ropes to two stronger trees in our back yard when my husband created a challenge course for our kids a few months earlier. The ropes took most of the weight of the tree and protected our house. Coincidence? I think not. Dani's gift lies more in the area of prophecy. The only real damage our house sustained was a broken window that occurred when Dani removed the tree. We went a day or two without electricity, and everything was back to normal.
Oh, and Mom’s house? Not a scratch. Her electricity never even went out, although Hurricane Isabel remains on record as the costliest and deadliest of the 2003 season. And about that "Robertson Twist"? The hurricane hit land in our area at a category two just north of Virginia Beach, pummeling other parts of Hampton Roads and Richmond instead.
*From Psalm 91:7