In the Storm

We’re in a Tropical Storm right now here in Florida, with enough rain to make you think to build an ark and enough wind to blow you over.  Except that in this very minute, it’s calm and there is no rain.  But when I look at the sky, I know it’s just a momentary lapse, and the worst of the storm is yet to come. Okay, truth is that I can’t see that from the sky.  But the Weather Channel, along with my local news give us the warnings to heed- there may be flooding, tornadoes, downed limbs and power outages.  Thankfully they stand in the gap to share how to stay safe instead of us relying on our own instincts which so often fail.

See?  We're under that black mark in the middle of the image- completely covered.

See? We’re under that black mark in the middle of the image- completely covered.

It’s really not a big deal though.  I’ve sat through more Hurricanes and Tropical Storms than I can recall, from before I can recall.  I’ve lived in Florida all of my life but two years, and those two years were on the coast of Mississippi where we rode out a few as well.  It’s just part of life.  And in the summer when we have a break from the storms?  Wildfires my friends, wildfires.  So many that your nostrils burn from the smoke, your eyes water just by opening a window, and you pray that a Tropical Storm will come along to drench us again.

No matter where you live, there are natural forces to be reckoned with though.  I can’t imagine being startled by the shrill of a unexpected tornado siren in the Midwest.  Or being woken by a violent shaking that rattles the walls and leaves you hoping that the earth doesn’t open up and swallow you on the West Coast.

I like the storms I’m used to.  I know where to turn for information, how to prepare, and how to keep my family safe.

In life I feel the same.  I like the trouble I know and fear the unknown.  But the really cool thing is that we also have a guide, someone who stands in the gap and helps us and comforts us.

No matter what type of storm we face, we don’t have to rely on our own knowledge or instincts.  In fact, when we do is when we get into the real danger.  It’s such a comfort to know that God is more reliable and knowledgeable than the Weather Channel, and more prepared to deal with disaster than the Red Cross.

In Hurricanes, Tropical Storms, or the storms of life, He is our help.

There’s no need to have all the answers, just to know where to get them.

~  Anita ~


Tornado Alley

Life is like a constant tornado right now.  We have a two year old human tornado that does more damage than I ever remember his big brother doing, including:  “look at me!”  as he jumps from chair to couch to pile of folded towels that go flying.  Then there’s the demanding job that has involved a lot of travel lately, sometimes making me feel like I’m blowing through places.  Commitments at church keep me hopping and spinning, always a few days behind.  And then there’s baseball.  Travel baseball is not for the weak mom.  The time commitment alone makes my head spin, and when you combine that with the challenges of helping your kid deal with the pressure, you’re dealing with other parents that you’d like to forget, and still trying to balance the rest…. well, life feels like a tornado and I’m getting blown every which way. 

In trying to stay grounded and take a few deep breaths I had this vision of what Austin would be doing in response to my spinning.  It’s almost like I can see him there, sitting in a chair in my living room, with a sly smile on his face.  Sitting back and watching it all, and laughing.  Laughing at me, laughing at my boys, laughing at the tornado.  I’m trying to do that a bit more, just enjoy it.  Just laugh.

As I reflect and enjoy more and get carried away less, here are some thoughts to share, that Austin would probably approve of.

– It’s a season of life, this fast pace won’t last forever and I’ll miss knocked over piles of towels and clay from cleats on my floors.

– The job is a job.  It’s a good one, one I usually enjoy.  It pays the bills, it lets me see a few sights, and I work with a lot of people I care about.  At the end of the day, if I gave my best and know I acted in a way I wouldn’t want to hide, I can smile and leave.  And try again tomorrow.  If this job ends, there will be another.  But learn all I can now.

– Baby steps toward goals are okay, they’re steps.  This past month I took a few pretty big steps towards my goal of sharing the real message of Hope with people.  More about that to come, but I’m so excited.  And I’m not going to worry about how many steps I didn’t take. 

– The contentment of knowing real friends is a comfort like no other, even when the tornado is whirling and you’ve lost sight of them momentarily in the wind.  The rest of the people?  Love ’em, but don’t let them hurt you.  I do NOT have this one nailed!  But I’m working on it.  The people who repeatedly hurt you are those you need to forgive but let go.

At my wedding, 2001

Austin had these concepts down pretty well for most of his life.  It’s part of why I hate depression so much- it robbed him of the ability to be the real him, the one who could laugh through it all, and always know what really mattered.

Sometimes the advantage of the tornado is you don’t have time to stop and miss…. I miss him today.  Maybe the tornado isn’t all bad.