In my “Theology for Pastoral Identity” class this week, we discussed the Holy Spirit. We began class with a beautiful litany of names for the Spirit, including Indwelling Presence; Fire of Life and Love; Warmer of Hearts; Space between Everything; and Wind of Change. It’s this last one, “Wind of Change”, that has stuck with me.
When I think of wind, I am not particularly comforted. Notice it does not say, “Gentle Breeze of Change”. Nope. It’s WIND of Change. Wind implies a rapid, perhaps unexpected stirring. Wind causes damage to trees and power lines and houses. It ushers in cold fronts and storms. Sure, it brings change, but not in a gentle, subtle way. It is drastic, big, and showy. And this seems to be a perfect description for the Spirit — it ushers in change in a bold, brisk, sometimes unpleasant or painful way.
There have been many times in my life when the Spirit was at work as a Wind of Change. In all cases, the change was necessary to my personal or professional growth. But it was painful. I felt that Wind of Change most profoundly in 2005 when my divorce was final and my eating disorder was at its peak. It was the Wind of Change that broke me open enough to admit that I needed help rebuilding myself. I needed to confront my fears of rejection, my perfectionism, my inner critic, my fear of never being good enough for anyone, my low self-worth. I needed something big and bold like the Wind of Change to force me to look at that stuff. A soft, gentle breeze wouldn’t have made me even take a second glance.
Tonight, as I listen to the wind whipping through the trees outside my window, I’m grateful for the presence of the Wind of Change in my life. Whether you call it Spirit, the Divine, the Other, or something else, it is alive in all of us, waiting to stir things up when we least expect it.
Is the Wind of Change active in your life right now? If so, can you look ahead to the potential benefit despite the current disarray or pain?
May the stirrings within you bring about changes of lasting peace.
Peace, joy, and health,