lessons learned: weathering the storm

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. ~Anonymous

I am sitting here on my front porch after a brief stint in the garden.  A storm has begun, in spite of the weather report this morning, and my afternoon has  been cut short.  Trees thrash about as if to try to catch their balance, and wind whooshes through my yard warning me to take shelter.  The rain has begun to blow through the railings and dances on my feet,

storm rolling in

making my toes cold.  I bundle up in my blanket and watch and wait.

Frequently, when I’m at the beach, I will sit in my chair and weather similar storms.  No lightening or thunder, just wind and rain and clouds.  I love watching a storm roll in, bringing with it cooler temperatures and even a bit of peace.  Yes, peace.

Everything (or everyone) seems to “hunker down” in a storm.  People head inside.  Doors are shut, windows closed.  We wait for safety and normalcy, warm sun and calm air.   We create this “either, or” scenario–either we are enjoying the garden (or beach) with sun and fun, or we are taking shelter from the storm.  We can’t imagine that in the midst of such rain and wind that we can find a sense of quiet or comfort.

When I was a little girl, we used to go to the beach with very dear friends of ours.  We’d run and play in the surf all day then run and play games in the house all night.  I will never forget the year we had a horrible electric storm.  You could hear it coming several minutes before it arrived at our doorstep.  Back in the 70’s, there was no air conditioning in the house so windows were kept open 24/7.  On this night, the children ran around begging adults to close the windows, but our friends’ father wouldn’t let us.  Instead, he encouraged us to sit by the window and watch the storm.

I remember being mesmerized as the lightening walked slowly up the beach.  There was a bit of anxiety created by the anticipation but also a sense of awe.  When the storm rested overhead, so much electricity was in the air that the damp screen seem to conduct it along each thread.  Our friends’ father exuded such a sense of calm in the midst of this chaos that it seemed to take hold of all the children.

As we enter storms in our lives, we make the assumption that we need to shut down–close out the storm, run away from it–or that we need to get entangled in the storm–dance in the blustery wind, stir up our lives.  As I sit here on my porch listening to the rain pattering on the steps, my hope is that we can be in the mist of the storm and still find calm in our hearts.

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