I’m sitting at the desk my brother made, a wooden slab on hairpin legs. Over my left shoulder I can look out the picture window to the tall pines waving vigorously above my next-door neighbor’s house. It’s a windy day. I love windy days, because it’s the wind that I so crave to feel. When the wind rounds my front porch it makes a growling howl and clangs the iron wind chime out back. I relish it.
Last week I wrote about Solomon and some of his wisdom expressed in Ecclesiastes. I’m going to hang out in that book some more in this post, because for the past week, Solomon’s words “everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind” have been clanking around in my heart. By my count, Solomon uses that phrase at least eight times in the text. He uses it when talking about wisdom, work, rivalry… all “works that are done under the sun.” Over and over he drives his point home with the metaphor of chasing after the wind.
Grief has had me chasing after the wind, literally. Some people look for rainbows, or butterflies, or cardinals, or songs as evidence that their dearly departed is “visiting” them. For me, I feel the presence of my baby girl when my breath is taken away in a good gust of wind. I love it when I look in my phone’s weather app and see the squiggly icon used to denote wind. It’s because I ache to feel the power of a blasting gale. The twisted truth to grief is that sometimes you want it to just really plow into your life, to blow you over. Feeling it, really sitting in grief, feels like acknowledging that your loved one existed. And a blast of grief is tangible proof that your love, well, it’s still there.
But I’m convicted. Rather than letting the wind blow me over and back down into the depths of grief… perhaps it’s time to position myself so that the wind is at my back, helping me to soar. And while what I think I’m aching for is wind, perhaps what I really need is the Holy Spirit.
Let’s look at another verse. The words of Jesus in John 3:8:
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The Forerunner Commentary digs into this verse and says the following:
“Interestingly, the Greek word underlying “wind” is the same as the one underlying “spirit”: pneuma. This truth supplies one facet of proper analysis because wind and spirit share a few characteristics: They are both invisible to human sight, and neither can be controlled by humans. In other words, each is sovereign and independent in its actions. The wind does as it pleases. No human can direct where the wind comes from, nor order where it is to go or what it is to do.
However, even though wind is itself invisible, its effects can be seen. In addition, the sound of its movement can be heard, and the changes it produces – such as trees swaying, dust blowing, and clouds passing across the sky – can be seen. In this same manner, the invisible Spirit, by which a person receives spiritual birth and produces spiritual fruit, operates.”
Hope is hard, but it gains me access to the mysterious power of the Holy Spirit. With roots in hope, I am positioned to be swayed by the power of the Spirit. I don’t really want the pummel of grief. I know that. I want the Spirit to send me dancing. So readers, pray for me. Pray for the Holy Spirit to move in her mysterious ways, to do as she pleases in my life. And as you reach for some hope, ask God to reveal how you might be “chasing after the wind” in your life. Maybe it’s time for change.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”