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Random Wisdom

“You are the one and only you that ever was, or ever will be. What you are going to do with this miracle is a question only you can answer.” — Dan Zadra

And The Storm Blinked

By J.D. Moss

Three streaks of light spread across the morning sky. A sky filled with sunlight only a few moments ago is now turning gray. White shining clouds transform into charcoal puffs, building their bulk, ready to spit out heavy drops of water. I have seen rain. I have seen storms. I have even seen the dangerous weather of a tornado. This is a first.

This is the last day of my first trip to west Texas. I came to take some parting pictures off “The Summit of Mount Locke, the highest point on Texas highways” or so the sign reads. This means if you want to drive, not hike, to the highest point in Texas, this is it. I arrived 10 minutes ago to a clear, bright day that is rapidly changing.

A cracking, deafening sound makes me jump. Instead of three claps of thunder, one for each of the lighting flashes I have just witnessed, I hear an incredibly loud one. The thunder takes a long time to reach the summit; meaning the lightning and storm are miles away, even though I can see it forming right in front of me. From the top of this summit I can see the whole of the Earth, from the rocks and brush below to the end of the horizon where incredible shades of greens and browns meet with vibrant mixtures of blues and whites. I see no towns, although I know there is at least one down there, so small from this viewpoint that it is camouflaged by nature. There is a thin winding streak of gray cutting through the greenery and I realize it is the highway connecting the town and Mount Locke. The rest are hills rising, then falling, waves of earth flowing like an ocean across the landscape.

The storm is spreading downward, still restricting itself to the sky yet assimilating the tranquil world quickly. The air is dry and the wind warm. I am transfixed on the creation forming. This is a show no one can see as I see it. In a world inhabited by few, you have great opportunities to be the sole observer. I stand in awe of the uncontrollable, understanding that change cannot be avoided, only faced. As another series of lightning dominates the sky and the angry sounding thunder pushes past my ears, I allow myself to drift back to another storm – a storm only I saw coming.


We both know things will never be the same again. I look over at Anthony as he silently, yet skillfully merges our car with the thousands of other cars headed in the same direction.  I have spent a lifetime fighting what could not be successfully fought –the invincible force of destiny. I can no longer live life as I have, if I continue to do what my best friend, Anthony wants, I will die. In a way I am dead in all but body. I know he will not accept the part of me I have been resisting. He has known about my homosexuality for a long time and has remained my best friend despite my “flaw” only because I condemned this part of myself.

“Do you want to get something to eat?” He asks.

“Sure.” I replied, yet do not really care. My heart is not in this car, nor with him.

“You know I am here for you.” He lies, yet does not realize his lie.

“I know.” I lie, knowing, yet not believing.

I look out the car window as we dodge in and around traffic. The morning sun is barely visible behind the cramped buildings. Sleepy-eyed and groggy people, tightly holding on to steaming coffee and egg sandwiches, move quickly in and out of my line-of-sight.

What is it like when a life long fear is realized? Within a few short months the thunderous fear of losing will transform into lightning strikes of reality that will result in excommunication from the church. The winds will blow away the structure of my life, leaving it full of chaotic debris and the rains will wash away most of my friends and acquaintances. I will lose my social structure, most of my support, and my faith – not in God, but in the church and in people.

My mind ignites with flashes of sparks. Logic and reason are communicating at an incredible speed, only slowed by the intrusion of unreasonable emotion. In this case –anger. In a short time my best friend will be gone. My phone calls, emails, letters, birthday cards and Christmas cards will all go unanswered. He will offer no goodbye –no explanation – years of friendship swept away with the change this storm brings. With him and others it will happen, as I always feared.

I am on the edge of transformation. He does not like it. He thinks he knows, yet he does not know, does not understand.  I know this change is positive and hopeful. For every yin there is a yang. The yin represents the tranquil grounding of earth, the uncertainty of the darkness, and the cold. The yang represents the positive, reaching for the heavens, warmth from the heat of love and the awakening to the light of understanding.  What propels me forward on my personal path has proven destructive to our friendship. I ride waves of emotion from acceptance of this fact to anger. I look at my friend, my brother and quickly close my eyes to conceal my tears.


Calmness surrenders to chaos. I watch as the darkened water is pulled from the sky, beaten to the ground with such force that it rebounds, reaching upward before falling one last time. The storm has now taken over the sky for miles. The heavy rain connects earth to sky; the lightning flashes and thunder are closer together. The wildness in front of me is moving quickly, charging toward my mountain perch. Scores of birds fly as one away from the oncoming menace, yet I stand my ground.

A manmade rock wall, designed to keep the tame safe from the wild, is behind me as I get as close to the storm as the mountain will allow. I am not afraid of what is coming. I see the beauty this storm brings, see its necessities, the rain that nourishes, the old, that floods could clear away, even as another lightning bolt strikes, I understand that even fire brings life.

A wave of cool air hits me. For a few seconds I can stand sideways, stretch out my arms and feel coolness with one hand and warmth with the other. Then the coolness envelops me. The wind blows across my face and fills my nose with the smell of water mixed with dirt. I breathe deeply, trying to become part of the storm. I watch as a runaway section of the storm moves out to my right. It moves quicker than the main body as if it plans on encircling me. This section is smaller yet it seems more violent. Lightning scars the sky more frequently, thunder plays like war drums, and the rain falls harder. Darkness slowly descends on the mountain, as the storm seems to pinpoint my location. I look at it with a crazy-ass grin and think, give me your best shot.


An awkward silence has fallen over us as we watch the sun slide out of the sky. We sit on top of Mount Bonnell watching as the lights of the city become more visible with the passing of each painfully long minute.

Anthony and I have made our way here after sharing a good meal over small talk, catching up on what each of us has been doing in the years we have been out of touch. Forced conversation that avoided what we both really came back together for – the proper ending of a friendship.

In the two years since Anthony cut himself off from me we have both moved on, yet in each of us the thoughts of the other still dash from the shadows of our minds to the forefront of our hearts. We were close friends, akin to brothers of the soul who inspired and looked out for one another. We prayed together, served in the church together, sang together, and his friendship meant everything to me. When it ended, the way it ended, created an emptiness that was instantly filled with an agonizing painful anger that has remained at the core of my being.

I turn and look at him, half lit by the dimming sunlight, and half in the shadow of the coming night. I smile and look as if the spirit of peace and calmness has blessed my soul, yet waves of anger rise and flood my heart then recede allowing the love I still have for him to justify my outward facade. The storm within continues to rage as he decides to break our silent impasse.

He explains he ended our friendship not because I was excommunicated from the church but because I embraced homosexuality. My heart is again submerged in a pool of bitterness, knowing the two are the same. He acknowledges that how he ended things was wrong and he apologizes. Compassion pushes away the hostility and I can see how much pain he is suffering. I sit and listen to his explanation, remembering what it was like hating myself simply because I was gay, being so disgusted with who I was that death seemed an appropriate response. How can I condemn him for not understanding, for the inability of setting aside almost immovable religious beliefs?

He ends by letting me know he still cannot deal with the thought of me with a man – he is generally sorry but still cannot be around me. He tells me I deserved to hear him utter the words – that he owes our friendship that amount of honesty. As his words penetrate my soul, anger, love, bitterness, compassion, and rage, battle each other for a place in my heart.


Lightning and thunder explode at the same time, brilliantly flashing a white burst to lighten the darkened sky, It last but an instant, yet I’ve learned to embrace the instant, to drink it deep and cherish it. It has been fifteen years since Anthony and I talked. The trappings of our friendship are long gone, yet my love for my friend remains. I think I understand why he is no longer in my life, yet probably really don’t. This means I cannot judge his actions. I do know his character is good. He is imperfect, just as I am. Imperfection is a trait we all carry and it does not need to be a negative aspect of our existence. It makes us who we are. It gives us strength.

I take in a breath then slowly push it out along with the thoughts of my painful past and with both gone peace speaks. If there is pain there is love.

The storm clouds seem to tumble over themselves on their way to me. I am standing square to the ground, staring into the storm. I will not fight it, nor flee from it. I become one with what is to be.

And it ends.

The thunder is silenced. The rain retreats. The clouds slowly become white and the lightning gives way to the sun. As quickly as it was formed, it dissipates. My inner smile comes with a foolish thought.

“I faced down the storm.” Smirking, I leave the scattered storm and my past behind.

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