Bantham – Salcome (13.7 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 453.5 miles / Distance to Poole–175.8 miles
All day I have had a Mumford and Sons song in my head, a song called ‘After the Storm’. It seems to perfectly sum up how today feels. There are several noticeable changes in the world today, which have come about by yesterday’s severe weather. Firstly the grass, which was looking yellow and dry is now once again green and lush. The ground, which was beginning to become hard and difficult to walk on, is now softer and springier under foot.
There have been a few times when I have had to climb over fallen trees or limbo under broken branches, all of which I presume were previously standing tall and straight before the storm. There is a tangible freshness in the air and it is almost as though a burden has been lifted from the world. And it has taken me a lot longer to walk today, as every 5 minutes Toby has picked up another stick – once a victim of the stormy winds and rain, and now an inseparable plaything for an excitable Dalmatian…until the next stick comes along!
As I walked along today in the sunny weather it seemed a whole different world to the one I walked in yesterday. The wind had dropped, the rain dried up and it was once again a pleasure to be out on the coast path. And certainly the land was desperately crying out for rain and for a change in the hot and dry weather. So today it felt as if everything around me was breathing a sigh of relief. Not just to have escaped excessive damage from the storm, but to have survived and grown strong once again because of it. There is new life, there is new hope.
I think that word – hope – is the word which best sums up the Christian faith. It is the assurance that after the storms of this life, and boy there are some big ones out there, there is more. There is something better, there is new life and a new freshness. And hope. There is of course damage, for not everything survives the storm in tact, but there is the hope that the damage can be made good in some way – this can be over years and although I use the fact that Toby created a plaything out of a damaged tree, I in no way consider all damage to be this quickly and simply transformed. There is hope that the things which were not doing too well before the storm struck, can actually be restored and refreshed by the powerful elements. There is the hope that the building pressure systems and burdens will be lifted or blown away, leaving a lightness of load. And there is the hope of new life, a better life, an eternal life.
It is this hope that gets me up in the morning and when I think about it, motivates me in all I do. That is why as I walked today and sang (to myself for a lot of people seemed to be around today!) ‘After the Storm’ I kept coming back to the lyrics:
And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
That’s why I hold,
That’s why I hold with all I have.
That’s why I hold.
So after the storm not only has the world been renewed but also I have, along with my sense of hope. I pray that the next time a storm hits, I have the strength to hold with all I have, to the hope that we have in Christ Jesus and that I once again will survive and experience new life.