The circling kind of storm

The thunder seemed to circle around us in the early morning gray, booming and rattling the pictures on our walls. Isaac and Baby Isaiah came to our room. Isaiah has a big-boy bed now, but his favorite bed remains whatever bed Isaac happens to be sleeping in. Apparently the thunder frightened him into his brother’s bed, and more thunder made him finally overwhelm his diaper. Isaiah was soaked. So was poor Isaac. And so was poor Isaac’s bed. We carried them back to their room and cleaned them up and deposited them both in Isaiah’s little-used bed.

Isaac smiled; it was becoming like an adventure. Isaiah lifted himself from his pillow just to be extra sure his big brother was staying in the bed with him, then flopped down. He likes to sleep with most of his body on the pillow, his legs tucked up underneath so that he looks like a snail. Isaac likes to sleep on his back with arms and legs thrust out like a starfish.

We left them that way, snail and starfish keeping each other safe. We went back to bed and I pulled Wife extra close to me. I need her extra close. We listened to the booming and then the sheets of rain. We talked about hard things. I wished I could pull her into my skin, so that there would never ever again be anything that could come between us. This is why you have to hold your beloved close, so that nothing divides you, and because sometimes it feels like your heart won’t beat right unless the gentle thunder of her heart’s rhythm finds its way through your flesh.

Eventually the two littlest boys found their way back to our room, as they always do. They toddled over to our window looking out over the trees and creek, and stood close to one another, silent, watching the storm. I hope they will always be that way, close and not self-conscious about it, and that one day each of my sons will have a good, true, strong-hearted woman to hold close when the storm circles, as it always does, as it always does.

And I hope my sons will hold their wives tight when there is no storm, because there is always danger, even on the brightest days, and all we have in the end are our prayers and our lives pressed close. I hope they will know this, that I can teach them this one thing, that you have to lay down everything you were and are and hope to be, because the only things worth having are the things you can make with her, the life you can live with her. The rest of it is just air and glimmer, thunder and lightning. If they can learn this one thing, have it written on their courageous hearts, then maybe everything I have done and been will be worth something after all.


  1. Evan Kincade

    Tony, every time I read your posts I am amazed at your ability to phenomenally describe the things that seem so simple in life. You have moved me with your words, and I hardly have anything to say back to commend you. Your love is so pure and beautiful, and your words make me look forward to being a husband and a father.

    Thank you. Thank you so much. You have written on my young heart, although that is nowhere near as important as writing on the hearts of your children.

  2. Lindy Hall

    Wow! Tony, this is powerful! My husband and I have been married for nearly 39 years and have raised 6 children. He now has a dementing brain disease and your words are still true for us, even now!

  3. Tall Texan

    My wife and I have four kids, three of whom have grown to adulthood. All of them have kept close relationships with one another. The two oldest, both boys, were best friends when they were young and still are close today. In all the years of raising them, I never heard them argue or fight…not a single time. So, Tony, I think it perfectly reasonable to hope that your boys will always remain best friends.

  4. Russell

    Tony you nailed it again. I wish I could have found your sage advice sooner. My wife is divorcing me after 28 years of marriage. I feel completely the way you describe and I am lost without her. I pray everyday that we will reconcile so I can once again feel her as one with me.

  5. Donna B.

    agghhh… this hit close to home for me tonight. Or this morning. I can’t sleep because my gut, my feminine intuition, and Google tells me that my husband probably has bladder cancer.

    A few hours ago, I tried my very best to think, caress, love, and wish cancer away from him. To erase the doctor’s words this afternoon. (Those words. It might be an infection, but I’d like you here for a biopsy day after tomorrow. And yes, I know you’ve already beat colon cancer, thought you’d beat prostate cancer… and…)

    Perhaps it is not obvious from my blog that I’m not a believer and perhaps it is obvious that I long to be. I wish I were.

    The outcome may be the same, but believers get there with less pain.

  6. Lisa R.

    Tony, this is lovely! No more to say.

    Donna B., Believe! And then, Trust.
    As for your comment that “the outcome may be the same, but believers get there with less pain” – no, no less pain, but oh, so much Hope. I intend to pray for you and your husband.

  7. David McGinnis

    Donna B,
    The outcome is not the same.

    If you want to want something, don’t you want it? Beleivers want Christ in their life; if you want to want Christ in your life, then it’s just that simple.

    But the outcome is not the same.

    PLEASE, read Romans 10:9.

    “.. if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

    No time like the present, Donna.

  8. Jennifer Krohn

    You described so well what I miss most now that ny husband is gone. Thank you for putting it in words. You seem to know so much about life with family. Thank you for sharing. Please keep writing….. and mentoring.

  9. Emily

    Your words always punch me in the gut with their truth and poignancy, but this post packed a wallop. Thank you for reminding me to hold my loved ones close.

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