I live in the south. Tennessee to be specific. And it storms here, if you haven’t heard. And I mean ‘STORMS’ as a verb. It’s an action word around these parts. And because I’m from California, these storms strike a fear in me that I know doesn’t find it’s way into the heart of the locals.
Just a few days ago, we had a major storm hit pretty much out of the blue. I had checked the weather in the morning and there was about a 30% chance of rain later in the afternoon. I took my three kids to the free summer movie at 11am and came out of the theater to the darkest sky I'd ever seen. I was suddenly afraid. I just felt the fear come over me. Doom.
I got the kids in the car without checking my phone, but when I got home I realized that my husband, Thomas, had called and texted me about the fast approaching storm. My weather alert had notified me of a severe thunderstorm, which means anything from hail, wind, and even tornados are possible. I made it home about twenty minutes before the storm front hit. Thomas thought we would miss the brunt of it, but when I looked at the radar, it didn't seem that we’d be so lucky.
It came on hard and fast, just like it always does, and we got the dogs and kids inside before the wind went from a light breeze to as much as seventy mile per hour gusts. My sweet husband has the most odd behavior during these storms. He was the one who warned me it was coming, and yet it wasn't until the trees in the yard were near blowing over that he decided he needed to go outside and make sure things on the farm were secure.
The other day when we had a smaller storm hit, in the middle of the constant lightning overhead, he decided that he needed to go find the cows in the field. What he actually thought he would do with the cows when he either did, or didn't find them, I have no idea, but he has this sudden urge to really up the adventure of the storm by heading out into it.
So as the gusts were pushing water in through every open window in my house, and I rushed to close everything up, Tom was out in the storm running around like a crazy person. Branches were snapping off the trees all around us, the hot tub lid went flying in one direction, and the power threatened with every big gust to give up, and yet, my husband figured it was a good time to be outside.
Isn’t it funny how we process fear? Some of us close ourselves in, while others stare straight into the wind.
It was bad, but the storm only lasted about twenty minutes. We lost power, a lot of tree limbs and almost a turkey—he survived, but he was in rough shape. He had gotten himself tangled in some expensive—but unplugged—electric fencing and his two ‘friend’ turkeys had nearly pecked him to death. His head was a bloody pulp when we found him.
The storm didn't last long, but you could say that it took us down in ways we were not expecting.
I know this is true in our marriage. I know this is true in parenting. And I’ve learned to watch for it even when the weather calls for clear skies. I know the storms will come. I know we'll be blown down. I know I'll likely be pecked to a bloody pulp at times (figuratively speaking of course). And I know I'll probably lose power from time to time.
Pro tip: It’s okay to face it afraid.
Because then comes the rainbows, right? Those moments where you know the storm has passed and the power is back on and you look around and see that everyone has survived. Not only that, everyone’s thriving! We see what we have, and we realize what we lost was hardly much to worry about.
In that, the fear is worth it. The perspective shift is priceless.
Oh, yes, I know the storms will come. I can see them on the horizon already. And even when I can see them on the radar, I believe that they'll catch me off guard. I'm sure sometimes I'll be hunkering down in preparation, and sometimes I'll be running around in the thunder and lightning, distracted by the things I can't even fix if I wanted to.
So for now, I face the fear expecting the rainbow. I know fear will come again, and even though the storm hasn't hit us yet... I already know it will be worth weathering.
Written by Wendy Cunningham