Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: YOUTH (04/04/19)
- TITLE: Watch Him Work
By James Cox III
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“Dad?” What’s going on? What are you doing? Why can’t we keep watching TV?, they wailed. “It’s just a storm Daddy, geez.”
He half heard them and as he lowered his voice to almost a whisper to explain, his mind raced back, years and years ago, when he and his brother neither older than 12, were at Grandma’s house for the summer…
“Boys!” she exclaimed, “Y’all get in this house RIGHT NOW! Get a snack, get a book, sit down on the floor and NO talking! Just hush.”
When Grandma spoke, there was no back talk, you just moved. They were too busy playing to notice how the clouds had darkened and clumped up, or how the late July air suddenly felt cooler as thunder rumbled in the distance, As kids did back then, they were enjoying the summer; laughing, moving Tonka trucks thru the grass, watching ants carry their loads, throwing a ball back and forth, playing Star Wars with tiny spaceships, the fun stuff. In the heat of the day, they didn’t pay attention to the storm that had creeped up on them like a wet robber.
In seconds it seemed, the rain dropped in buckets creating steamy otherworldly streets; the wind seemed to howl and between the bright, frequent lightning flashes there were long, loud and drawn out BOOMS of thunder. But they sat still, and read their books in the semi-darkness, Grandaddy rocked back and forth quietly in his chair, his strong gnarled hands lightly clasped together, Bible open in his lap to Psalm 46:10, Grandma sat on the couch, crocheting and humming a hymn they had heard in church.
One of the boys finally asked, “Grandma?”, Why do we have to stop playing and sit still?”
And before she could answer, his brother asked; “Yeah Grandma, and why do we have to turn all the lights off, with no TV and be quiet?”
For a second or two, Grandma paused, then she looked at them both and said, “When the storm comes, we sit still, no matter how loud or crazy it gets, we sit right here and we be still, so the Good Lord can do His work on the Earth.”
She stopped talking and looked out the screen windows on the porch. As if on que, a firm but cooling breeze whistled thru into the living room. Grandma continued, “Plants need their water, animals need a cool bath, the whole earth needs cleansing; the Good Lord takes care of it all and we sit still while HE shows us His Power.”
One of the brothers tried to interrupt but she kept on…”Folk be runnin’ around, fidgetin’ playin’ talkin’, how in the world do you expect to get a thing done in a storm? How can you expect to understand His power, when you doin’ everything BUT bein’ still?”
By the time she had finished talking, the storm had almost finished, Grandma started to quietly hum again and didn’t stop until it seemed the last raindrop fell on the rose bushes outside. She and Grandaddy looked out the window at the same time, knowingly and lightly smiling.
The boys were more than confused but quiet and although it was still soggy and wet, they were allowed to go back outside, picking up the “play” right where they left off.
“Daddy?... DADDY?!!!” Did you hear us, the storm’s finished, can we turn on the lights and log back on?”
He was back it seemed and softly smiled, nodding.
“But do you understand what I was trying to tell you guys?” Do you understand what it means to be still?”
Their heads were already buried in their games but each one mumbled a “Yes Dad” as walked by him.
He and his wife both sighed; not long ago she had survived a breast cancer scare and he, not too years ago was laid off for months. They both stood on the porch for awhile remembering and holding one another close, deeply breathing in the sharp, sweet smell of earth after a strong thunderstorm. Then quietly, they went back inside to conduct the business of living…for Him.
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