I love storms. I love the way it smells right before it’s going to rain. The way the sky goes from blue to gray right before your eyes. The way everything seems to move in slow motion. The anticipation of what’s to come. The feeling of rain drops on your face. The way animals slowly start to creep out as the storm subsides. The calm and the still that immediately precede and follow a storm. The rainbow that you’ll see after it’s all over; if you’re lucky. The way everything feels so clean and new afterwards. How did something I started out so afraid of become something I now love so much?
Ask a room full of kindergarteners what they’re afraid of and I assure you at least a few will say storms. The thunder is loud and it shakes the house. The lightning makes bright flashes in the night. The rain makes them sad because they can’t go out and play. The threat of a storm makes them worry. It fills them with uncertainty. What will happen? Will I be ok? Then there’s this little piece of magic that happens. Their parents read an extra story to help them sleep, they get to watch a special movie because they can’t go outside, mom and dad let them sleep in their bed. All the worry goes away and they feel safe. The storm rages and they don’t notice. They are certain that they will be ok. They find a calmness in the chaos.
Then you get older and you realize that you’re still scared of storms. Not the ones that lead to rain and wind and thunder, but the ones that life throws at you. Storms like loss, and anger, and pain, and heartbreak. All of a sudden you’re that little kid again. Standing nervously in the middle of this thing you can’t control. You try so hard to stop it or push it away, but you can’t. It overtakes you. You start to feel alone and that calmness you’re looking for is getting harder to find. It feels like the storm might never end. Then, you get a hug from a friend, or a text saying “I’m here if you need me”, or you see your nieces and nephews laughing, and you can start to see the calmness a little bit. You start to remember how it felt before the storm. When the storm starts to fade you realize how grateful you are for the calm. You gain a piece of the puzzle; the storm teaches you to appreciate the calm.
Then there comes another storm, and you don’t feel quite so scared. You remember to look for the pieces of calmness. Gradually as you weather the storm you begin to find the calmness more and more. One day you realize that the calmness and the storm can coexist. You can’t fully let go of the storm but you can see past it and experience the calm when it comes around. You gain another piece of the puzzle; the storm teaches you that the calmness is always waiting to be seen. This one helps in the long storms.
Then you reach a point where you’ve seen a lot of storms and you realize that your still here. The storms haven’t destroyed you; they have made you. You realize that you have come out the other side a stronger person. You realize that you are happy in the calm. You start to think that maybe you could learn to be happy during the storm, too. You know where the calmness lies and you decide to let it be more important than the storm. This one’s hard and sometimes it seems impossible, but then you do it just once and you realize something, you like it. You start to live in the storm instead of just exist. You get another piece of the puzzle; the storm teaches you to dance in the rain.
I’ve seen my share of storms. I’ve stood in the middle while the storm seethed around me. I had days I was sure I would never find a way out. Times when I believed the rain might never stop. I stood in the middle of the storm and let myself finally fall apart. I let the storm take over my life. I let it block out all the light and the calm. I saw the darkness and the destruction. I stood in the storm. Then, I looked up and I saw a light.
“Let light shine out of darkness” 2 Corinthians 4:6
I started using the strength God had given me to find the calmness again. I began to push the storm to the side and focus on the calm. My family, my friends, school, music, reading, writing. I took every little piece I could find and I treasured it. I decided to stop living for the storm and start living for the calm. I learned that the guilt I had been feeling for being happy shouldn’t be there. I cannot control the way other people deal with the storms only the way I deal with them. I can control the way I live my life. There will always be some piece of the storms that follow me around, but I have learned to dance in the rain when it pours down.
Next time you see a storm rolling in go stand outside. Stretch your arms out and look up to the sky. Let the rain wash over you. Hear the thunder clap. See the lighting strike. Feel the wind in your hair. Stand in the middle of the storm and do a dance in the rain. Don’t wait for the storm to pass to be happy. Be happy during the storm. Stand in the storm with the confidence that you will still be right there when it has passed. Don’t be scared. You are never alone. Find your calmness, see the light, dance it out.
Have a fabulous weekend!
P.S. My apologies for not posting last week. I will make it up to you at some point.