I don’t generally stand outside staring at the sky. But last night I did. Thunderstorms had already brought flooding south of my town, and they were moving in quickly.
My dear friend Jana recently shared that since her husband passed in May, she dislikes rainy days a great deal. She wants sun and warmth and light.
My Tori doesn’t like storms either, so I bought her a Thundershirt. It arrived yesterday, and while this blog does not endorse dog products, I must say she was significantly calmer with it on.
I thought about Jana and Tori as I stood watching the clouds move and change shape, listening to the wind. My bare feet were walking on dry grass, but it wouldn’t be that way for long.
Life has been challenging for me lately. How about for you? Are you staring down a difficult challenge? I watched the clouds and noticed how the formations moved, the darkness was in front of me, then at my back. Lightning coming from every direction, then a few moments later, a break in the clouds.
The lower clouds were dark and shifting, but the upper level clouds remained the same. Much lighter, puffier, less menacing.
I watched for several minutes, thinking about how life mimics weather patterns. Forty miles south of my town, heavy rain was causing flash floods. The winds were very strong in my area, the sky was dark, Tori acted like a big storm was imminent. Then it seemed to pass.
This morning the sun came up right on time. There are branches in my yard, and I watch reports of flood damage, but the day was pleasant and seemed to belie the forecast of storms returning.
Alas, they are back – stronger than last night. More rain, fierce lightning, thunder that seems to be right on top of us.
Life is like that sometimes, isn’t it? I watch things shift, see great darkness then patches of light, feel the wind and, like Tori, get scared of what seems to be coming.
The storm starts and I wish I had a Thundershirt. The atmosphere changes in what seems like a very negative way. I can't predict or control when it will start and stop, or how fierce it will be. Suddenly I am consumed with trepidation and I forget so much of what I know.
How about you? When you are standing against a crashing wave of pain or sadness, when it feels like you are on sand that is shifting so fast you can’t keep your balance, when the rain comes hard in your face, do you sometimes forget you have lived through storms before?
I forget that, as bad as the thunder and lightning is, it doesn’t last forever.
I forget that rain serves a purpose, even when it is inconvenient or unwanted.
I forget that, even if I stand in the yard through a storm, my odds of being struck by lightning this year are 1 in 700,000.
I have lived through thunderstorms and floods. Some have caused massive amounts of damage, tangible or emotional. I know “this too shall pass”… but sometimes I forget.
Tori seems to know what to do better than I do. She runs to my side, lets me put on her new shirt, then relaxes. She never forgets where to go in a storm.
I can learn from Tori. I forget that the One I serve and love, the One who loves me, the One who calmed storms while He walked this earth, is always watching, is still in charge, is still able to hold up His hand and make it stop…or hold my hand through it.
I forget that there is always an upper story, a place in the atmosphere that is steady and calm…and still will be, once this lower storm passes.
I forget to run to the safe place. I battle on my own, try to make the rain stop, try to stack sandbags against impending floods…I forget all that does is make me tired and frustrated.
How about you?
Do shake, fret, find yourself overwhelmed?
Or maybe you devise a plan, throw up the barriers, board the windows…do anything necessary to either stop the storm or run from it?
Does it work well? Didn’t think so…
Jana is right – sun, warmth, light are best. I would always choose that.
But we don’t get to pick the weather, do we? Not in our world, not in our life.
All we ever get to choose is how we walk through it, and where we keep our focus.
I am determined to learn how to stop fussing, stop fighting, stop planning my getaway. I am committed to remembering, and to looking for the One who will either stop the storm or guide me through.
Will you join me?
Let’s talk again soon…right now I have to step outside and look at the rainbow