It was a very blustery day. Gusty really.
Me: “Draw a picture of the wind.”
The Spy (he’s 8): “That’s easy. Give me the paper”
(I hand him the paper)
The Spy: “Wait. Just draw wind? Or trees and stuff?”
Me: “Whatever is your best depiction of wind. You choose. It just needs to be a good drawing. I’m probably going to scan it in.”
30 seconds later:
Me: “Maybe yeah add trees and stuff. Do another drawing.”
30 seconds later:
He was eager to get back to Calvin and Hobbes (It’s a Magical World). But even if you try your best, it’s basically impossible to depict every aspect of wind.
But without a baseline image of the trees, how is one to know that the image shot are the trees displaced?
And the images are missing the sound. Let’s give it a go with words.
A low tone rumbles in the distance. Advances through the trees. The rumble builds, changes pitch and then…whhoooooooooshhhhh leaves are flying, branches are cracking. Your eyes widen and dart up to the trees. They swing wildly. You’re overcome and thinking of nothing but the wind. The gust hurls through.
And then you get on with whatever you were doing. Unless your power is out. Or your house is destroyed. Then you get on with cleaning up or, God forbid, planning a funeral. That’s why your eyes widen and dart up to the trees. The pictures of post-storm damages never seem to capture the wide-eyed power of the wind. Fortunately, our windy day did no harm (to us). But the same winds/storm did do a bunch of damage across the Midwest today.
Wind or no wind unfortunate things happen all the time. Thus is life.
Jesus says to Nicodemus in John 3:8:
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.”
Well, we do have Doppler radar but the actual wind is still pretty mysterious and complex. We can’t predict its path with any real certainty. We can’t gauge its strength in a photograph. We can’t fully give voice to its sound with words. And we certainly can’t govern it. Jesus mentioned the wind in trying to illustrate that some things (flesh vs. the Spirit, being “born” again) are basically impossible to understand. It’s ok to accept some things as incomprehensible and look beyond a “narrowly naturalistic view of human beings”*. Being overwhelmed by the beauty of things like a mighty, rushing wind(y day) facilitates this leap of faith for me.
*The quote is from the “study note” on James 3:8. From The Lutheran Study Bible English Standard Version Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO