On the PBS radio program, Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor, the American author and humorist, once told the story about his “storm home.”
Keillor was entering the seventh grade and the principle, Mr. Detman, was fearful of a winter blizzard that would strand the students. So he assigned each student from the country a “storm home” in town near the school. If a blizzard struck, each child was to go to his or her storm home.
Keillor says: “Mine was the Kloeckls’. This was a kindly old couple who lived in a little green cottage down by the lake, with everything so neat and delicate . . . It looked like the kind of home that if you were a child lost in a dark forest and suddenly came upon it in a clearing, you would know that you were lucky to be in a story with a happy ending.”
His Storm Home became very big in his imagination. He said that he often found himself day dreaming about going to the Kloechls when things got difficult.
Keillor said he imagined “the Kloeckls had personally chosen me as their storm child because they liked me. ‘Him,’ they had told Mr. Detman. ‘In the event of a blizzard, we want him! The skinny one over there.’”
No blizzard came during the school hours that year. “But,” Keillor explains, “blizzards aren’t the only storms and not the worst by any means. But if the worst should come, I always knew I could go to the Kloeckls and knock on their door.”
Mrs. Kloeckl would open it up and say, “Ah, it’s you, our storm child. Come on in, won’t you?” And then she would shout to her husband, “Honey, come and see who’s here in our kitchen.”
In a deep voice Mr. Kloeckl would answer back, “Is it our storm child?”
And she would answer, “Yes.”
Then smiling at Garrison she would say, “Oh, the weather is just terrible outside, isn’t it?” And she’d heat up some milk in a pan on the stove to fix some hot chocolate.
Keillor says that he never actually had occasion to go to the Kloeckl’s cottage. But the idea was a source of reassurance as he went through his junior high — the idea of a safe, loving place that was always there if he needed it.
Not all storms are connected to the weather that may dump a ton of snow or flood us with water. Some storms are emotional. Or relational. Or spiritual. There are storms of depression. Temptation. Worry. Sickness. Stress. And death of loved ones.
These storms can leave us feeling stranded. Alone. And without protection. They cause us to feel vulnerable and sometimes frightened.
We all need a “storm home,” don’t we?
When the Psalmist, David, encountered the storms of life that threatened his spiritual and emotional well being, he had a “storm home. “God,” he affirmed, “is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Ps 46:1)
The wise man expressed it this way, “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge. (Prov, 14:26).
In a time of national calamity, Isaiah praised God for his protection and wrote, “You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm” (Isa 25:4).
When the disciples literally faced a raging storm in their little boat on the Galilean Sea, they woke Jesus saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.” (Lk. 8:23-24).
Where is your “storm home”? Who is your “storm home”?
We recommend the Lord.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman