Terrible Beauty

On the neighborhood walk today, I delight in the sun on my face, the soft breezes, and the sound of birds chirping. I even hear a woodpecker. I visit with neighbors, enjoy the morning light, and think that maybe spring will soon arrive.

But then–within what seems like mere seconds–I discern a dark shadow over my head. A cloak of strangely cold blackness falls around me. I look behind me to see a storm like a black claw. It chases me up the hill to my house. It thunders, but instead of rain, a deluge of icy snow begins to fall.

I’m running. It’s terrible: dark, haunting, and predatory. I feel hunted down by clouds, thunder, and snow. But it’s a sublime feeling; I’m both terrified and filled with wonder. And it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful because in a minute, I know I won’t be in it.

My home rises in view, and I calmly walk to the door, blinded by snow. I take refuge in the warm, safe kitchen. Now, I watch this terrible beauty from complete safety. It’s swirling about me, yes, but I’m not in it. 

I’ve taken refuge here, and it’s beautiful. I think of taking refuge in God so that no matter where I am or what storm threatens, it’s a terrible beauty from a position of complete safety.


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