|Why 'Grey Wind'?
Sometimes when the wind is grey
I sit before the hearth, and as I stare
The kindled sprites arise and revel there.
I do not dance as they,
Yet in my heart I leave my chair
And step upon the sighing air --
In dream I am borne far away
When the wind is grey.
Autumn is, by far, my favourite time of year: The cooling weather, the thousand flaming hues in every hardwood tree, the subtle change of sunlight, the lengthening shadows, the lingering echoes of ancient harvest traditions, the fairs, the festivals, and the food, all building toward and crowning in the merrymaking of Advent. Cindy and I even chose our wedding date to coincide with the likely peak of Fall foliage (at least in the region where we each then lived) that we might celebrate future anniversaries by venturing into the countryside to view the colours, an annual tradition we have long called our Autumnquest.
I love as well Fall days that are gusty and overcast. Such are, to me, the perfect conditions for tramping about the hills, then coming home to a warm quilt and a pot of very hot tea. How often have I known people to gaze out their windows and grumble, 'What a miserable day,' just when I was feeling most alive!
But, above all, I find the waning year a season for contemplation. If I can resist becoming consumed with all there is to do in these months, if I can let myself be quiet for a while, if I can spare a few hours to watch the capering tongues of a small fire or to wander alone in the wilderness, then both memory and dream swell forth as at no other time. Then is learned poetry that has naught to do with words. If I will allow myself to know it, there is a quality in these days that comes very close to my understanding of holiness.
'Grey Wind' represents the poetic vision.
Sometimes when the sky draws close,
As though heaven sought to share a private word,
I go where listening is the least deterred,
Where murmuring water flows
And whispers in the trees are stirred.
I roam the wild, for there I've heard
Best that which God would interpose
When the grey wind blows.
I am no pantheist. I worship the Creator of the universe, not some personification of the universe. Still, just as in reading a book one may sense much of the author's personality, values, and goals, so may something of the mind of God be read in His Creation. We do live in a fallen world, so the tale has been corrupted by other hands; but the Master's signature never can be quite obliterated, for those who have eyes to see.
The Scriptures remain the supreme and final authority by which we are taught of our Lord, yet even these appeal to the Creation to illustrate their lessons. Consider: 'The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is every one who is born of the Spirit' (John 3.8). It is a mark of Christian faith that we sometimes do things which make little sense to the unbeliever. Indeed, in some matters non-conformity is a conscious (and conscientious) goal; but just as often we must choose a difficult way when it would be far more comfortable and profitable (as some count profit) to take the broader, easier, well-worn road. Cynics will try to discover our ulterior motives, while more kind-hearted souls will appeal to our reason, explaining the obvious they assume we have somehow missed. But the course of our lives is neither ruse nor naïveté. We do not always choose our path because it makes sense to us. We do not always know where we are going. What we do know is that our Guide is worthy of our trust.
'Grey Wind' represents the leading of the Holy Spirit of God.
Sometimes when the wind is grey
I feel its touch and fancy it my kin.
It seems but chill and gloom to other men --
The ruin of a day.
Few know it for a paladin.
Scarce praise does my own passing win,
Yet some will stir and some will sway
When the wind is grey.
As Christians, we are called to demonstrate God's love to the world. Moreover, we are instructed: 'If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men' (Romans 12.18). Yet, inevitably, some things which we must say lest we neglect or deny the Truth, and some things which we must do in obedience to the whole of our discipleship, will bring us into conflict with the people around us -- both with unbelievers and with some of our own who honestly fail to understand, or perhaps wish not to. No one likes being made uncomfortable, and anyone who causes discomfort will naturally prove unpopular.
Yet either our God is the one true God, Creator of all things, Master of the universe, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent -- or our faith is pointless. There are other religions and philosophies only too ready and willing to promise people what they think they want, only too glad to preach freedom from responsibility, only too anxious to assure that self-interest is a virtue. If our God is not God, the very definition of Truth and Right, then let us cease our prattle and leave people to their preferences. Better still, let us join them.
Furthermore, Jesus declared, 'I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me' (John 14.6). Either what He said of Himself was and is true, or he was liar -- or, at best, utterly delusional. If his claims were false, then he is worthy neither of our service nor even of our respect.
But if our God is God, and if Jesus is indeed the Way God has made for humanity to be reconciled to Himself, how can we keep silent? 'The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?' (Amos 3.8b).
Certainly, we should use wisdom and compassion in what we say. Much harm has been done through the centuries by men and women who preached the gospel of God's love and grace without first learning love and grace themselves. But ultimately even Jesus was deemed offensive, so much so that He was put to death! However gently we declare the word of God, it remains 'living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword' (Hebrews 4.12a), and in the end it will divide all who hear it into those who believe and those who reject.
Love moves us to kindness. Love calls us to sensitivity. But love also compels us to confront people with a Truth they may not wish to hear.
'Grey Wind' represents the Message that will discomfort many, but stir a few.
Poem copyright © 1990 by Edward Waters
Text copyright © 2002 by Edward Waters