The storm is fierce. It is always there thrashing me to and fro and robbing me of inner peace. There have always been storms in life but this season will not go away. I have become one with it and I cannot draw a concrete line between myself and it. Where does it start and where do I begin? How do you cope when you are forced into a situation you cannot escape? How can you remove yourself from chaos that is all around you? How can you walk away from the people who look the other way as they take your breath away and pretend they don’t see you are unable to breathe? I desperately want this season to end but just when I think the sun will break through, the thunder wakes me out of bed. It’s become the norm, this unsettling anticipation that the black clouds are coming to swallow me up. I know this too shall pass but when? I don’t have much of me left and fighting to keep my head above water is exhausting. I’m tired. My body is weak and my mind is erratic. No one can live in constant survival mode. There is no life between fight or flight just that gnawing anguish that never really lets you experience a moment of peace. When will it end?
Today is our first major tornado threat of the year here in Oklahoma. Isn’t it amazing and crazy how much our lives can change in just 24 hours? Everything that seemed like such a big deal yesterday isn’t even a single thought today. Life has a funny way of putting things in perspective especially when we’ve forgotten how to do it for ourselves. Today be grateful for all of your blessings no matter how big or small. Don’t take anything for granted and keep in mind today and tomorrow may look very different from one another. We are in a constant state of change. This too shall pass. Until then I will hunker down until the storm blows past and it will pass in its own time.
There are some lessons that only age alone can teach. All my life I believed in silver linings. I believed that if I waited long enough or had the patience to look hard enough, I would always find the silver lining in every cloud. Spending 5 years in Oklahoma and living forty plus years in all kinds of storms, I realize I was wrong all along. If a cloud has a silver lining, you will see it right away. You can spend years and years waiting in the same spot hoping to see it but sometimes it is just not there. It will never be there. No amount of looking or waiting or wishing will ever bring about a silver lining that just doesn’t exist. Sometimes a storm cloud is just that. It signifies that something terrible is approaching. Sure, you can choose to stand there and wait for the rainbow but I have finally learned to run. In fact, the older I get, the faster I find a place to take shelter. Not everyone is a meteorologist but at the very least, you have to know when to use some common sense. If the cloud is looking ominous, move your feet to a safer, sunnier place. Sometimes we create our own storms and other times we accidentally get caught up in one that was unexpected. Either way, remember you are the one responsible to keep yourself safe. Heed the warnings. Take control of your own life and don’t waste anymore time standing in the same dead end spot.
Sometimes we forget to be grateful as we wake up in bed each morning.
Sometimes we forget to love and appreciate the blessings in our lives.
Sometimes we forget that today may very well be our last.
Sometimes we forget to not get caught up in the little things that will never matter.
Sometimes we forget that the past is in the past.
Sometimes we just forget that we only get one dance around the sun.
Sometimes we forget….and a simple tornado that touches down in your town reminds you. Everything gets back in the right perspective and you are reminded to live smarter, live better and be kinder. You are reminded that you will not get this day back so you spend it wisely. Sometimes it takes a big, scary storm to help you see a whole lot clearer and then you remember. You remember to love, you remember to live and you remember to be grateful for every single minute you have. Sometimes we forget but eventually we remember to spend our days surrounded by love and let things like regret and anger slip away.
If I had forgotten somehow, yesterday I was alarmingly reminded that life is truly unpredictable. There is no way of knowing or even guessing from one moment to the next, what life will bring.
It’s tornado season again in Oklahoma. I had a terrible feeling that this year would be a spring filled with tumultuous storms. I’m starting to believe my instincts were right. As I stood outside and felt the winds slam against me, I was frightened. The weather can be so over powering, so destructive. If you are in the wrong place at the right time, nothing can save you from Mother Natures fury. The town next to mine got hit again. What are the odds that the same place can get hit so many different times? It’s heartbreaking and it’s terrifying and when I woke up today I was very grateful to be safe and alive. I forget how fragile life really is. I want to believe I am invincible but the sobering truth is I am not. None of us are. Today I will take the time to appreciate all that is around me. I will not allow myself to get stressed if Chase doesn’t do well on his math test or if there are 20 loads of wash piled up. The sand is slowly moving through my hourglass, there is not a single second to waste. Enjoy your life because this one is the only one you will ever have. Don’t sweat the small stuff and be grateful that you are who you are, this wonderful human being who is uniquely you. Make a difference, smile more, stress less and laugh from the heart of your belly. It’s not the years in your life that matter, it really is the life in your years.
Don’t let people pull you into their storm, pull them into your peace. Magical words that can make such a difference in anyone’s life. This is the time, right before school starts, that parents start to feel quite a bit anxious. Life is about to get busy again. There will be schedules and sports and homework and shopping for clothes and supplies. The list almost appears to be endless. It’s enough to make anyone that is normally calm feel a bit apprehensive . Remember, crazy feeds crazy. Anxiety feeds anxiety. You owe it to yourself to do whatever it takes to create that calm place inside of you where you can close your eyes and visit whenever the world is moving at a pace faster than you can bear. Remember to breathe and take things on one at a time. It’s much easier to look at things that way then to take on an entire day. You will get it done and eventually the calm of evening will come. So take a deep breath and enjoy the last few days and hours of summer vacation. In a couple of months it will come around again. In the meantime, enjoy the little moments in everyday. Some days will be good and others will seem bad but there will always be something to be grateful for.
I can’t help but reflect on all these horrible storms. The devastation and enormous impact leave a mark on the towns and people in it for their entire lives. I am still sad when I hear about the stories from Moore, Oklahoma. It seems almost a short while ago that the hearts of the people that live here were left with their hearts exposed and bleeding out for the world to see. These storms are becoming more common and the impact scars more than just the physical structures that are ripped apart and destroyed.
I can’t help but think of the storm inside us all. Be careful what you carry. Remember, each angry thought, negative feeling, tumultuous word builds up. At first it makes up a small part of you until finally it overcomes and consumes who you once were. How dangerous to carry that around with you both devastating to yourself and others. Remember what that storm looks like when it grows out of control. There is no containing it once the momentum builds. Find a way to let go of all that forms that large black cloud and try with all your might to see the sunshine above the clouds. It is always there waiting for you to find it. Gratitude is a direct route. Find things to be grateful for every day and let love back in your heart. You get to decide, do you want to feel the sun on your face or be stuck in a chilly endless rain?