I am an avid storm watcher and aficionado. Perhaps it’s a twisted hobby I gleaned while watching hurricane after hurricane beat against our Sulphur, Louisiana childhood home, or maybe it’s just one of my quirks… the point is, I feel connection with storms.
I found myself thinking about this this morning as a loud thunderstorm passed over Tulsa. I remember the warm thunderstorms of my childhood, the smell of rain through an open window. I remember making mud pies in our front yard (ruining the already slim chance of grass growing up there.) I remember “swimming” in the flooded streets. I remember singing loudly as we played in rain from tropical storms and minor hurricanes (more on this later.) I remember all of this fondly, even the times we had to drag our mattresses to the hallway. Storms made me watch with anticipation.
I realized this morning that I do the same thing with life’s storms. I fixate on them, studying them from all sides. It’s not an approach that would work for everyone, but I have a point. I am not afraid of my storms.
When Jason and I got married I walked down the aisle with rain boots on. I promised him that I was prepared to dance in the rain with him, to endure struggle with a song in my heart.
As I held a baby on my chest and listened to the storm roll through today, I imagined the many epic storms I’ve lived through. Remnants of Hurricane Andrew made landfall in Louisiana when I was small. Hurricane Lily was one I vividly remember playing in with my sisters. Hurricane Rita made landfall just a few miles from my childhood home, half of the homes in our neighborhood had tree damage. (And so many more.) You see, we watched these storms on the news. We respected these storms. We learned everything we could about these storms. We played in the ones we considered safe, and we boarded windows and hunkered down when we felt unsafe.
I have had people give me wide-eye stares when I tell them we played in hurricanes. Heck yes we did, but we didn’t do this recklessly. If we treated all storms like they are catastrophic, we would be hunkering down for ages… we would miss out on so much. If we played in every storm, we would be destroyed, because we were unprepared; lacking respect for what made that storm unique.
Which brings we full circle to where I began. I am a storm lover. I study them from all sides to get a better understanding of what I’m seeing. To understand it’s limits and what makes it different. I study them to learn my part, my options.
Yes, I’m paralleling to life now. Friends, we don’t see all storms coming, but we can see them when they are happening. We can still learn from them and we can still live a little while they play out. Some storms make landfall closer to one person than another… both are affected, but one is boarding up windows, while the other plays in the rain. This is ok. How someone else prepares for their storm is not your business, you don’t know everything; it’s your business to emerge afterward and love on your community.
Make the phone calls, send the texts, take the visits… how we clean up after a storm is just as important, if not more so, than how we prepared. We are wiser now. Use your wisdom to live, and love, to the fullest.