It’s been a long winter and I welcome the storms of spring with more anticipation than usual. Winter storms are all right, but there’s nothing like the intensity and show of a good thunderstorm. Everyone views storms in a different light. Some are afraid of them, some grit their teeth and wait them out, and others embrace them. I’ve even known a few who try to ignore them as if they weren’t happening.
My passion for thunderstorms stems from watching them as a kid curled up next to my Mom. She’d gather us kids onto the couch to watch the storm out the large living room window. We’d ohh and ahh at the lightning streaks and flashing clouds, counts the seconds until the thunderous clap of thunder would rattle the windows, and marvel at the wind whipping the rain down sideways. Nighttime shows with the lights off were always the most exciting. She never vocalized why she watched or encouraged us to watch with her. In a practical sense, storms must have been easier to handle with five children if they were viewed as an adventure and not something to be afraid of.
Mom was a very optimistic woman. Storms came and things got dark, but inevitably, the sunshine always followed. Based on her outlook on life, I’ve made my own assumptions about the lessons she wanted me to get from storm watching. Storms of all types, natural and otherwise, are an inevitable part of my life. I should recognize the beauty in their power, and not be afraid. There are steps I can take to create a safe haven to wait them out, and I should be prepared to take care of any damage they leave behind. Most important, they are a part of life I cannot control. Control, even when I was small, was something I understood.
I’m not the optimist my mother was. I tend to be more pragmatic, more controlling, and more often than not look for what might go wrong rather than what is going right. Storms come into my life just like everyone else’s. Storms of Mother Nature, but more often, the storms of everyday life. Marriage, a child, job stress, financial issues, hectic schedules…the list is different for everyone, but we all have them. And just as different is how we handle them. Some are afraid, some grit their teeth and wait them out, some ignore them, and others embrace them.
I don’t think mom intended for storm watching to be a mechanism for me to work through the ebb and flow of my life. However, it is one of the many lessons she taught, intentionally or not, that I often rely on. We don’t get the opportunity to watch storms together now, yet she’s with me with each one that I face nevertheless.