The Purpose of Clouds

A journal entry from last month:

I’ve felt oh so brain-dead lately.

There will be bouts of lucidness, sure, but mostly, I’m over here puttering around the sink, taking out the trash, avoiding cooking, thinking of 500 more ways I can justify breakfast-for-dinner again.

What is it?

I’m not sure.

It’s just a little cloudy over here, that’s all.

Do you know the purpose of clouds? They’re heat barriers. When it gets too hot, when the atmosphere is shifting, clouds partially absorb the heat and redistribute it elsewhere.

A cloud is our weather’s great equalizer.

I used to think a cloudy mind meant I was doing something wrong. And it did, at times. It does, at times. Relying too much on sugar, not enough on rest. Falling into old patterns, quickening my pace.

But I’d forgotten about the heat barrier. I’d forgotten that clouds aren’t simply there to hide the sun, the warmth, the beauty.

I’d forgotten that they protect.

Of the many character traits I lack, faith is the one I lament having little of.

I can get by with my predisposition to moodiness, my difficulties making decisions, my inability to stand firm and confident and bold in the face of adversity.

But faith? I could stand to have a touch more of it.

I am perky, and an optimist, and I have no trouble seeing tiny fragments of sunshine amidst the storm.

But this is not faith.

Faith is not putting on your rose-colored glasses for the day.
Faith is taking them off and walking blindly, confidently ahead.

Currently, we’re in the thick of a season where faith is required, not optimism. Adoption is not a glass half full vs glass half empty scenario.

It is neither.
It is both.

My full glass will be someone else’s empty one, and there is little rosy about this.

And so, in my own small sky, there are questions, doubts, fears, hopes.

Heat is being redistributed.
The clouds are moving in.

Anne Lamott once wrote this:

“And she said gently – that they believe when a lot of things start going wrong all at once, it is to protect something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born – and that this something needs for you to be distracted so that it can be born as perfectly as possible.”

I’ve felt oh so brain-dead lately.

Something needs for you to be distracted.

It’s just a little cloudy over here.

To protect something big and lovely.

I’m still puttering around the sink, taking out the trash, avoiding cooking, thinking of 500 more ways I can justify breakfast-for-dinner again.

But today, I’m doing it without my rose-colored glasses.

And that feels like a small step toward the sun.

  • Oh, my. I almost don’t have words for how much this touched me. You, waiting on an adoption; me, waiting for my body to decide to conceive again. My brain is also cloudy, my doubts roll in, but I’m going to try that faith thing, and hope “something big and lovely that is trying to get itself born” – or small and sweet – will find its way through the clouds soon for both of us. xoxoxo

  • Hey, Erin! Probably too personal for a blog post, and completely understand why, but if, by chance, it isn’t, I’d be so interested to read more about your decision to adopt and the route you’re taking (state, agency, private, international..). My husband and I are a little over a month into fostering a very sweet 6 month old who we’re hoping to adopt. Always love hearing from other foster/adoptive moms. It’s not an easy way to go, but such a beautiful one.

    • hi elizabeth! i agree – it’s always so so fun to hear from other foster/adoptive mothers! it’s been a long road for us – we’d initially signed on for an ethiopia adoption, a country we’ve both felt longterm connections to and one that i visited prior to completing the paperwork, but the level of corruption was so, so high that all adoptions were placed on hold prior to receiving a match to help prevent future trafficking. we regrouped, reassessed, and after more research, i began to feel a greater pull to adopt here in our own country. we’ve been on the domestic road – slowly but surely! – for over a year now. we just finished the final string of paperwork a few weeks ago!

      we’re walking in faith and can see that it’s a long road ahead. but what a beautiful blessing it can be for us all. :) i wish you peace and joy in your hopeful adoption for that sweet six month old! foster is not a journey i’m familiar with, and i’m sure it arrives with SO many challenges, and SO much beauty. sending big hugs your way, elizabeth!

      • Erin // Do you follow Lara Casey of The Lara Casey Shop and Southern Weddings Magazine? Her family just adopted domestically. I feel you two would be dear friends.Thank you for every. single. word. you. write.

  • Thank you for this!!! I don’t even know what else to say. I feel like i’m becoming a little repetitive, but this was so perfectly timed and that Anne Lamott quote…my goodness, I really needed to hear that! So thank you!
    Sending virtual hugs and good thoughts your way as you step forward in faith!

  • Thank you for your words, Erin. They encouraged me this morning and “put a finger on” much of what I’ve been feeling lately too.

  • Thank you Erin for this post. One day,following the birth of my second child, I found myself standing, mouth agape,in total awe over the sight of clouds over my home. Maybe it was all the extra hormones that come with pregnancy and birth but I’ve never noticed and felt the clouds like I did during that period in my life. They gave me such a peace, I cannot begin to describe. Naturally, the feelings and clouds disappeared (as feelings and clouds do) but today, your words brought me back. Not to that moment but to all the other times when I looked up, needing that peace and felt disappointed that I couldn’t find that feeling again. Today your thoughts on clouds gave some much needed faith. Thank you.

  • I just woke up and for some reason……….found this. Thank you my friend so very much. Have felt brain dead don’t know what to do with myself–moved to a 3rd world country…….isolating.
    Your writing brought a smile to the face and deep warmth to the heart and i remember the ring of truth.
    Thank you again!

  • I too have trouble doing things without the rose colored glasses. I think it just takes practice and a little “letting go” which I am not terribly good at.
    I just read Anne Lamott’s “Small Victories, spotting improbable moments of grace. She has a knack of putting things into perspective :)

  • Oh main this was a powerful reminder/perspective shifter. Thank you for these words of encouragement. The heat of “what’s to come” is so hot! And to think that God would choose to use something beautiful to distract us while we wait is just another reminder of how deeply He loves us. And how creative He is….reminding us with His creation that it is all in His control. What we see and don’t see. What we understand and what we must let go of and simply walk by faith and not by sight. I will look at clouds differently through this perspective…much like a rainbow…a reminder that He is protecting me.

Comments are closed.