Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Stormy Life

I live in western Washington, and yesterday we had a storm. We tend to get them from time to time. Within the last four years of moving back home (to Washington) we've had two bad ones.

The first winter after I moved home an awful snow storm blew in. We lived in the country at the time, and used well water, electric heat, and an electric cooking stove. The snow weighed down the branches so badly that the trees broke from the pressure, bringing electrical lines down with them. A forest lived behind my backyard and the air was so incredibly still and quiet without the sounds of electrical items. I'd stand outside and listen to trees groaning and cracking from the weight of snow and ice. For days I had no running water, no heat, and no cooking stove.

I no longer live in the country. I now live near the water. Yesterday's storm brought wind and rain. It brought down trees, took out power, broke windows, removed roof shingles, tore down fences and even some homes. It sounded as though a giant sat on my roof, pounding its fists and tearing off the shingles one-by-one.

But today, just like after the snow storm, I regroup, assess the damage, and begin the repairs.

Mother's Nature's storms remind me a lot of life's storms. Oftentimes without warning a tragedy, or illness, or personal turmoil will roll in. If you're like me, your first response is to run outside and try to brace those things that seem likely to fall down first. You see the dark clouds coming and you try to make yourself believe the damage will be minimal, nothing bad will happen if you can just __________.

But then the storm hits you. It stirs up your life and there's nothing you can do but batten down the hatches and wait it out. You hear scary things. You feel scary things. And every minute creeps by like an hour at the DMV.

Eventually, though, the storm passes. You peek your head out from under your security blanket to assess the damage. Yeah, there's damage. Your personal storm may have cost you a friend or two, a significant other, a job, a familial relationship. It's hurt your pride, your patience, your self-esteem.

But it's time to regroup. Maybe apologies need to be given or received. Maybe broken relationships need to be cleared away so that new relationships can be built. A new foundation of hope must be poured. New seeds planted to eventually take root. New boundaries posted.

Yes, the storm brings changes--some good, some not so good. But in time, those new additions and adjustments and foundations won't be so new anymore. They'll be the same ol' same ol' and with any luck, your storm will be just another "That one time..." story you'll tell your friends over a second glass of wine.

The sky as the storm rolled in.