Friday, September 9, 2016

The Thunderstorms of Life

The past two mornings we've had thunderstorms roll through early in the morning.  Too early to be awake for the day, but hard to go back to sleep as they move through.  And yet, we have more in store for tonight and tomorrow morning.

Normally, I like a good old fashion thunderstorm...every now and then at least.  But even better is just listening to rain fall.  Nowadays, I dread a thunderstorm coming through, especially at night.  Why?  Because its pretty much a guarantee that my oldest will wake at some point during it and it will be a bit before he goes back to sleep.  Sometimes, we get lucky and the storm passes through quickly and he falls back asleep quickly.  Other times, he wakes multiple times until the storm is gone.

Yesterday, after a tiring weekend, when they rolled through, I knew he would wake, but I was not ready.  I was tired.  So, I let him climb into our bed and fall back asleep.  Which of course, he wanted to do this morning as well when another storm rolled through.  Fortunately, the ones this morning came through late enough that it was almost time to be awake for the day.

I, like my son, would rather they go through during the day.  That's when I like them the most.  If I had it my way, when they roll through at night, I would curl up in a ball, put my pillow over my head, and cover myself up with a blanket until they pass.  But, with kids, I can't do that.  I have to be braver and stronger for my kids.

While laying next to him, it got me thinking.  About the thunderstorms in our lives.  Sometimes we can see them coming.  They are on our radar.  Other times, they pop up unexpectedly.  And still, there are times when the conditions are right, so we put up our guard just in case and they may or may not pass through. 

We don't know how quickly they will pass through.  We hope that they move quick, but sometimes they linger.  We don't know if they will be big or small.  We don't know if it will last one day, one moment or keep coming day after day.

They bring with them all the emotions that flood us like the rain falling down.  There are many ways to weather them.  Hunker down and ride them out.  Dare to venture out.  Hide away and try to block them out. Even push them down and try to ignore them, even if they keep popping up.

But there is something about these storms.  They come to teach a lesson of some sort.  How we handle them affects the outcome.  Sometimes right away, and yet other times we don't see the affects until later on.  Sometimes the storms repeat themselves every so often.  Either way, it keeps us on our toes.

I am not sure why I would rather hide away during a real thunderstorm.  Maybe something inside me remembers an experience from childhood that my brain can't remember.  I've weathered a lot of storms throughout my life.  The ones that stick with me are the ones that happened while camping.  Not sure why, but I can still remember them as if I was still there...even all these years later.

The thunderstorms of our lives can be that way too.  Something from days past can keep popping up through the current storms.  I've gone through life's thunderstorms differently depending on what it is and when, but the outcome is usually the same.  I pray to get through them as quickly as I can.

But some of those storms have left lasting damage, that even with time, will not ever go away. 

Something else I've noticed is that with the really big storms, there is a rainbow to follow.  One of my biggest life storms was when our daughter died.  My rainbow? My oldest son two years later, arriving happy, healthy, crying.

As I continued to lay there while my son slept, I began to wonder.  I wondered, how do we teach our children that there are going to be storms in their lives and how to make it through those storms?

Right now, I can offer a safe place that brings comfort and calm.  I can offer a hug and a snuggle to make things better.  But I will never be able to keep the storms away.  I will have to teach him how to ride out the storms.  If that means hunkering down and riding it out, venturing out, or hiding away than that is what we will do...together.  Because together, we can make those storms seem less scary.  Together, we can make it through.

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