When I was seven or eight years old I would often lay outside in my back yard on warm summer days with the two little neighbor girls, Nancy and Carol. We would spend what seemed like hours looking at the white puffy clouds floating by overhead. And we would see things; little hunched down rabbits and Jack and the Beanstalks’ giant, floating dragons and sleeping old men with long white beards. We could almost hear them snore if we listened really hard.
Sometimes we had to point out what we saw to each other because we weren’t always looking in the same place or at the same angle. Often, as we tried to point something out, the images would be transformed from something kind and gentle into something frightening and horrid. We thought that this was magic of some kind, or maybe God drawing pictures in the sky. Maybe it was the Almighty’s way of speaking to us. None of us had ever heard God speak, of course, but maybe, we thought, He spoke to us in the clouds.
As I grew older I knew that “our” clouds were actually “cumulus” clouds and nothing more than collections of water droplets. The name cumulus came from a Latin word that means “heap.” Those particular clouds were a sign of fair weather. I also learned about air currents, and how they moved clouds across the sky. There was nothing magical about the cloud transformations. It was simple science.
But God, well now, that was and is another matter all together. As I have grown older I have become convinced that God speaks to us, more often then not, through the circumstances and events of our lives. Often we don’t understand what is being said at the time but there are occasional times when we recognize what He is saying. And, in my childlike moments when all things are possible, I still hold on to the belief that God spoke to me in those clouds of long ago. The Almighty graced me with a glimpse or two.
One glimpse, one insight, is that a lot in life depends upon our perspective. Often we don’t understand something or someone or see things exactly the same way as someone else does because of our perspectives are different, born out of different circumstances and experiences. This does not mean that one of us has to be right and the other wrong. It does mean, though, that we have a lot to learn from each other.
The other glimpse is the relentlessness of change. As the clouds changed their shapes because of winds in the atmosphere, we too find that the world has changed due to the winds of time. We constantly change our minds about certain things in light of new information, circumstances, situations and events. I pity the person who is afraid to change their mind about something. Survival is born of constant change. Those who either cannot or will not change are doomed to extinction.