Rebuilding My Greenhouse

What can we learn in the storms of life

I learned about weather when I was a kid. About cold by licking a metal doorknob in December. About humidity when my brother locked me out of the house during a rainstorm. Our science teacher talked about cumulonimbus clouds. We nicknamed a guy cumulonimbus. Whenever we called him that we knew a storm was coming.

Here are answers school kids have given when asked about the weather.

“I am not sure how clouds get formed. But the clouds know how to do it, and that is the important thing.”

“Dew is formed on leaves when the sun shines down on them and makes them perspire.”

“We say the cause of perfume disappearing is evaporation. Evaporation gets blamed for a lot of things people forget to put the top on.”

“Clouds are highflying fogs.”

“Clouds just keep circling the Earth around and around. There isn’t much else to do.”

“Thunder is a rich source of loudness.”

How right he is. We live on the western edge of a small prairie town which affords us front row seats to some of the most magnificent thunderstorms, rich sources of loudness. We’ve seen a tornado circle overhead, horizontal rain, and winds so strong chickens lay the same egg twice. Your hair blows in the wind and you’ll never find it. But that’s not all that’s gone with the wind. Three times a storm has dismantled my greenhouse. In the aftermath I roam about pulling plastic parts from trees and hedges. I’d like to say I do this with shouts of praise at God’s awesome power. Truth is, I gripe and moan. I think, Hey! I didn’t sign up for wind when I moved here! But that’s life. Storms come.

A broken greenhouse is nothing compared to broken relationships, broken vows, broken hearts. I’ve experienced all three, and there are no easy answers. But strangely, I’ve grown more in the storms than the stillness. C.S. Lewis believed that God whispers to us in our pleasures, but shouts in our pains. He’s right.

Without storms I wouldn’t have learned the importance of trust. Or the power of prayer. Without storms I wouldn’t have learned compassion for those who are hurting. And I wouldn’t have learned to put a fence on the north side of my greenhouse. A seven-foot fence. Next April, I’ll let you know if it’s still standing.

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Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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