Years ago, there was a farmer who worked the land along the Northern Atlantic coast. He had difficulty finding help because the farm was so isolated and often in the path of powerful storms that wreaked havoc on buildings and crops.
One day, a person well past middle age approached the farmer and said, “I heard you were looking for a good farmhand?” Skeptically, the farmer asked: Can you do the work? The person replied: “Well, I Can Sleep When the Wind Blows.”
Puzzled by this answer, but desperate, the farmer hired the person who turned out to be a good worker. The new hire was a self-starter who anticipated what needed to be done and worked without complaint. The farmer thought perhaps he had finally found someone he could count on.
Then came the true test when a big storm rolled in one night. The wind howled from offshore and, jumping out of bed in a panic, the farmer rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. He woke the person from a deep sleep yelling, “Get up! A storm is coming! But the farmhand rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No, Sir. I Told You, I Can Sleep When the Wind Blows.”
The farmer was tempted to fire the farmhand on the spot, but there wasn’t time. He rushed outside. To his amazement, all the haystacks were covered. The doors and shutters were tightly secured. The new farmhand had done everything to prepare for the storm. Then, the farmer understood what this person said when they first met. Now, he too could Sleep When the Wind Blows.
This old story contains an important life lesson: That when we are prepared (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically) and put forward our best effort, we have nothing to fear and can rest in the Lord. It’s similar to what Jesus tells his disciples as he breathes His Spirit upon them – Do not fear!
This is how the Holy Spirit works. Not just in the great moments we read about in the Scriptures, but in the everyday moments of our lives calling us from fear to peace and from death to life!
The question: Can you and I Sleep When the Wind Blows pertains also to our relationships with God and one another as we search for peace and meaning in our lives. The gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord) help us to find peace and the ability to heal and strengthen relationships so we can sleep when strong winds (like the ones we are experiencing) gust through our lives.
The hired hand is like the faithful steward we hear about in the Gospel. Faithful, vigilant, dependable when the going gets tough. The way we prepare is by using and developing the gifts God has given us and by relying on the Gifts of the Spirit and the people who love us. These things help us to live a good, faith filled life in the midst of joys, sorrows, disappointment and success. Even when the wind blows, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can be Christ for others!
“I sought my God I could not see. I sought my soul; and my soul eluded me. I sought and served my neighbor, and I found all three.” This is one of the mysterious ways the Holy Spirit works, and it’s often the best way to sleep soundly when the wind blows.
May God continue to Bless you and our Aquinas House community.
fr. Brendan, O.P.