I remember a stormy night
the likes of which I’d not seen in many years.
Thunder and lightening
… more thunder and lightening
… and heavy, non-stopping rain.
And the sky?
… the sky was beautiful!
I didn’t even think of taking a photo of it
as I was too busy oohing and aahhing at the beauty.


When I grabbed my camera
all I got was this photo which only represents
about a quarter of how majestic a sky it was.


I couldn’t help thinking about
… how beauty and potential destruction can go hand in hand
… how goodness and evil can exist side by side
… how grace and suffering can be present at the same time


These days, sadly, we’re getting to know all about all of that
because of Charlottesville, Virginia where
… clergy walked quietly and peacefully, hand in hand
as armed white supremacists flooded city streets.
… ordinary citizens stood watch outside a synagogue as people of all ages
gathered inside to pray and KKK members marched with flame-torches in their hands
shouting “Jews will not replace us”
… and much more.

Storms happen
… personally.
Storms happen
… meteorologically.
Storms happen
… politically.


When we encounter storms
may the words from Rudyard Kipling’s “IF” poem

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man (sic), my son (sic)!
<Rudyard Kipling, adapted for inclusive language)



Photo & Text © June Maffin


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