I grew up in Alabama, and tornados were a part of life. My parents made sure we were prepared in that we had a home with a basement, shelves stocked with canned foods, jugs of water, ﬂashlights and blankets – in case we were ever trapped. My father had his trusted weather-ban radio on, and sat in his favourite chair as he listened to my friend Debbie’s father, Mr. James Elliott, report on severe weather as it approached. We were prepared to be sheltered through the storm, and to emerge after with the hopes of being unscathed. And, we did. What didn’t make sense was that following one storm, we emerged to ﬁnd our neighbour with a tree through their roof. We would always drive around to assess the damage in the community. I couldn’t believe how some areas were untouched, and others were littered with debris and uprooted trees. Sadly, I recall a time when just a few blocks away from my home, the father of a young family died as part of the house collapsed on his family. They had been as prepared as we had been, hadn’t they?
In life, some of us are dealt more tragic storms than others. Why did he get cancer? Why did she lose her job? Why did my child die? Had he not taken care of his health? Had she not been loyal all those years? Had I not done everything right in my pregnancy? Why weren’t we sheltered? Protected? Safe? It doesn’t make sense!
How do you make sense of the storms of your life? What have you learned about yourself? About what it means to be human? I have learned through my storms – betrayal, abuse, loss, death of a child, divorce, illness, transition, etc., that the skies clear, and new beauty and growth appear following each. I just have to be willing to step out of the basement to experience it.