Tornadoes always fascinated me when I was a child. I mean, they scared me, but I also found the idea of them somewhat exciting. Growing up in Southern California, the unpredictability of earthquakes instilled a deep fear of when the next one would hit. Somehow, tornadoes seemed less scary. At least there was an alarm before one hit (most of the time). Plus, it seemed so adventurous to be in a storm shelter, waiting for a storm to pass. I’m sure my friends who have lived through a tornado would beg to differ, but in my eyes, going through a tornado felt like a grand adventure.
I remember the climax scene in the cheesy, disaster film “Twister”, where Helen Hunt’s character held on for dear life as a F-5 tornado roared towards her. (And poor, dear Phillip Seymour Hoffman was stuck playing a tornado-loving oaf.) As the tornado passed her, there was the moment when she found herself in the eye of the storm – a place so unbelievably placid. If it wasn’t for the surrounding chaos, the eye of the storm is a wonderful place to be.
The image of the tornado has once again fascinated me. I am in the midst of changes (upon changes, upon changes). I have been busy and overwhelmed. I am confused. One day, I realized how much my life circumstances feel like a tornado, swirling around me. A few days later, I was meeting with my spiritual director and she invited me to sit in a moment of silence. As I sat, the image of the tornado returned, but along with it came a remembrance of the eye of the storm. It felt like an invitation from God. Not an invitation out of the storm, but into the very core of the storm. The place of inexplicable peacefulness.
Isn’t that strange? My first inclination is to run and hide, yet refuge is found in the midst of all that troubles me. In the midst of all the chaos, peace is found in the center. See, the eye of the storm is where God is. I suppose this is nothing new or earthshattering, but the visual of the tornado brought the truth home to me in a new way. God is not erasing my problems. Nor is he ignoring them. Rather, he is welcoming me into the problems and holding me in the midst of the chaos.