Shaken, Not Stirred

Santa Ana winds are a unique phenomenon in Southern California. These strong winds blow through the L.A. Basin during fall and winter with an unmistakable howling, shuttering and shaking; in their wake, debris. Streets and yards are littered with dried and dead fronds, the winds easily plucking them from palm trees.
Life’s storms are like Santa Ana winds. When circumstances blow through with fierce force, that which is no long useful is quickly dislodged. Aspects of life that don’t work any longer are easily removed. The longer the winds blow, the more that is lost.

The losses are stacking up for me, and I know they are for others because there are a good many others currently experiencing difficulties. With each passing day, it seems we must cope with grief, too, over what all has been lost.

Each day brings a new loss. Some are expected, others are surprises. Some are easy, others are hard. The hardest ones are those involving people. When difficulties come our way, the tests aren’t just about sifting and sorting what’s in our hearts. They quickly reveal what’s in others’. I am immensely grateful to know so many wonderful people, people who have encouraged and supported me in myriad ways. Yet, in my life and in others’, protracted difficulties cause others to pull away, gloat, gossip, blame or even become angry. All of it, whether positive or not, offers gifts of clarity. While painful, it’s best to see what really is.
Pruning … weeding … whatever you want to call it, the process hurts, but it’s necessary.

After those Santa Anas, the typical grungy air that wrecked havoc with my lungs was gone. The winds blew away accumulated dust and whatever else hovers in the California air, leaving behind cleaner air and sparkling skies. It felt good to be outside after Santa Anas. Those stately palms that lost so many fronds soon grew lush without a hint they’d ever lost so much.

After the night, morning. After the winter, spring. After the drought, rain. After the storm, clear skies.


  1. After surrender, providence through His will to endure pruned, given shape for that which He has in store for you according to His perfect vision to your use in kingdom work. Blessed be the Lord in all His glory, and blessed be you and your pathways that there may be light. Mark

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