The sheets of rain lash down, almost maniacal in their resolve to pound everything in the way.

The lightning flashes blindingly. For a split second, there is silence, followed by the booming thunder nearby.

The water pounds and pounds. The thunder rumbles. The lightning comes again.

The storm is hitting my windshield and the wipers struggle to move the water. Their back and forth motion is hypnotic — and I wonder whether the storm I feel and hear and fear is really outside — or if it’s inside my heart.

It’s dark and it’s loud and it’s gloomy. The storm outside the car threatens me physically, but the storm inside threatens something far deeper. Far more existential. It’s pounding on my very core again.

The sheets of rain pound down like the notes of nature’s mad symphony.

One, two, three, four. Flash. Boom. One, two, three, four. Flash. boom.

There’s a rhythm to the violence. The notes hit harder, punctuated by the percussion of thunder and the flash of lightning.

Is this symphony the voice of God? Of the devil? Or of some mindless randomness that doesn’t care who it strikes?

A violent storm does damage, sometimes fleeting, sometimes lasting. Nature is tough, though. The trees and rocks and animals can take a pounding and remain strong. One tree or a dozen trees or even a hundred — maybe an entire forest — can be wiped out by a storm and others will rise to take their place.

Nature is patient. Nature has many centuries of time. Nature has resilience.

Not so with a human heart.

The heart hurts. The heart needs. The heart scars from accumulated wounds.

The heart can harden. The heart can wither. The heart can give up and start dying.

Love is the only thing that heals a wounded heart. Love is the only thing that softens a hard heart. Love is the only thing that can make a withering heart flourish and become vibrant again. Love is the only thing that can give a heart the hope to move forward with life and live again.

Every heart needs love. And a heart without love is vulnerable to the storms which I feel raging. The storms threaten to engulf and destroy.

My heart needs a love that comes and stays. The storm violently makes that clear again — the storm outside and the storm inside. But it’s not just any love my heart needs.

My heart needs a love that also needs what I have to give. A heart that wants what I want. A heart that cares about what I care about. A heart that recognizes its equal and its partner.

As the violent storm rages around me — and in me — I long again for a love to come and stay. A heart that knows what it wants. A heart that is unafraid. A heart that shares my values. A heart that wants to create and build and soar.

I long for a heart that will build a love that will matter this year and next year and next decade — a love that can kindle a flame that can last a thousand years, long after these two hearts have stopped beating.

But tonight, there is only the storm.

Once again, there is the lashing, violent rain and the thunder and the lightning. There are the maddening questions. The crippling doubt. The blinding pain.

The storms are powerful.

The storm outside will end soon and the sun will come out. The storm inside will rage and rage. Without elusive love, that storm seems endless.

One, two, three, four.

Questions, doubt, pain, fear.

The sheets of rain keep lashing against my wounded heart. I pray again for the storms to end, but there is no end in sight.