A storm will be named when it is deemed able to have a substantial impact on the UK or Ireland, according to an article read recently on Wikipedia. When I booked my holiday, it was to be a ‘Rest and Reflect’ change-of-location-away-from-day-to-day-routine time. And so it was.
It was the first time holidaying on my own since losing my husband, as I write, 2 years and three months ago. Little did I know at the time of making the booking that it would coincide with Storm Katie! That was the name of this storm. It was the storm that brought a yellow and amber warning in places throughout the UK. Thankfully, it was a storm that did not bring massive devastation or destruction. The only hold up for me was a slight delay while the police removed a fallen tree from the road on which I was travelling.
The visit to Newport Wetlands Centre after the storm was a deeply significant one, as my late husband and I had visited this wheelchair friendly place, with access to the waters edge and bird hides. A meandering path leads to a wooden walkway and swing bridge, at the end of which lies East Usk Lighthouse, standing tall above the reeds and easily recognisable from the sea. Gazing up at this tall structure standing alone on the vast expanse of sea shore, bathed in the patchy sunshine, I paused to photograph this magnificent lighthouse. I wouldn’t normally talk this way about a lighthouse (really!). It’s what it signifies that counts. Encouraged and reminded by a song that resonates with me I sang loudly and inwardly humming excerpts from the tune and words “My lighthouse (x 2), shining in the darkness, I will follow you. My Lighthouse (x2) I will trust the promise, you will carry me safe to shore … Fire before us, you’re the brightest. You will lead us through the storms …”
Grief’s like that. It’s a storm. It’s a fire. It feels dark at times. To know that you’re safe in the arms of your Creator God and Shepherd in a time of great turmoil is of great comfort to the believer. It’s in a storm, I was reflecting, that you need a light to lead you to land and safety. Pastor Rick Warren speaks about 6 stages he went through in his personal experience: Shock, Sorrow, Struggle, Surrender, Sanctification and Service. I can identify with some of these. I do like to think and have read too of how unique grief is – it won’t be shoved in a box with a lid on. Oh no!! The emphasis for me and my little experience (as I write, only after 2 and a bit years), is not so much on the stages but on the promise that, as Isaiah puts it: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:2 KJ 2000 bible)
My storm and grief I liken in some way to Storm Katie, in my reflection time away in the Welsh Mountains – it brought devastation, my grief. Of course you’re not the same after the loss of a loved one. You’re DEVASTATED but not DESTROYED. I read this somewhere and gripped onto its truth. Your heart in a sense though does ‘sing again through the storm.’ Is this your experience? If so, or even if not, would still love to hear from you.
Till next time, Suz.