I was on vacation at South Bethany Beach, DE this past week. It did not rain for almost all of August...and we went on vacation with Tropical Depression Ernesto. I refused to allow it to depress my spirits and still had a wonderful vacation. We actually made it onto the beach for four of the seven days. The beach really is quite lovely without all of that hot sun!
One of the things that happens to me when I am on vacation is that I get out my routine with everything...including spiritual disciplines. I used to beat myself up about this. But for the past few years, I've been trying to take the advice of my spiritual director, who almost always closed our sessions by saying "Amy, stop being so hard on yourself."
So rather than worry about my routine, I have tried to look for evidence of God's grace in new ways. I love to walk on the beach. As I walked on Wednesday, amidst the gathering storm, the wind was whipping my hair around and I thought about the wind of the Spirit. I felt as though the Spirit was swirling around me, evidenced by the wind and waves. I was reminded of David McAllister Wilson, President of Wesley Seminary, when he talked about the church remembering how to breathe. We breathe in and exhale the Spirit all of the time, yet we can become strangely unaware of it's presence. As the wind swirled, I felt as though God was surrounding me in every conceivable direction from within and without.
I thought, too, about how the Spirit is often most palpable when a storm is gathering. It is not in the calm, easy places of life that I am most keenly aware of God's presence. It is in the swirling, churning, wind whipped times that I can feel God most powerfully.