What Will You Do After the Storm?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

This was an incredibly productive and relaxing weekend, highlighted by my youngest granddaughter’s fifth birthday. It’s amazing how quickly they grow up. For a little girl who doesn’t like being the center of attention, she had an awesome day. Watching the kids run and play outside, none of us could have imagined how the day would end.

I went to sleep knowing there were thunderstorms looming from the northwest, but most of our weather comes in from the southwest, so I went to sleep thinking about the people north of us who would bear the brunt of it. Well, as it turned out, “north” was a lot closer than it seemed. By 11:00, I was awakened out of a sound sleep to spend the next hour hunkered down in the basement.

We were spared the worst of it, but early indications are that several tornadoes tore a path across several counties after most people had gone to sleep for the night. For many of those people, as the rest of us settled back into our beds once the storms had passed, they were left to wonder where their bed had gone, because it wasn’t where they last saw it.

We live in an area of the state that’s known for tornadoes. My own neighborhood, the very spot on which my house sits, was ground zero for one of the most destructive F5 tornadoes in history. That one leveled a large part of our town and took 33 lives in the process. There were injuries last night, and a lot of destruction. But thankfully, it appears everyone at least survived the storms.

But last night, we were among the lucky ones who were able to return to our own bed and call it a night. The closest confirmed tornado passed less than three miles to the north. As we counted our blessings and tried to unwind, images of unbelievable destruction were broadcast on the TV. And even as I went to bed, the storms were still wreaking havoc in counties to the east.

I can imagine a lot of those people enjoyed the day yesterday much as we did. Cookouts, family gatherings, kids playing in the sunshine, everybody just making the most of a beautiful day. I doubt anybody put their kids to bed after a long day spent even an instant thinking about having to wake them up and run for shelter in the middle of the night and whether they’d have a house by morning.

Life happens, whether we’re ready or not. Things can change in an instant, and none of us can ever be completely prepared for the reality we’ll face when the current storm is over. We’re not just talking about meteorological storms, but any of the things life can hurl our way to completely change what we thought the day may bring, and the pieces we’ll be left to pick up in its wake.

Storms come in the form of serious accidents. Sometimes they manifest themselves as health issues, a family crisis, or financial loss. This year has seen an unprecedented amount of flooding and storm damage across the U.S. that nobody could have imagined. And every day, families around the world deal with the loss of a loved one. You wonder sometimes how they can muster the strength to go on.

Some storms never fully pass. But even a hurricane has a spot of calm sunshine in the middle, a chance to survey the damage and get ready for what’s to come. And it’s in those brief moments that the human spirit begins to shine through. Disbelief turns to acceptance, and acceptance turns to determination. And in that moment, we begin to move away from the storm instead of waiting for the storm to move away from us.

I can look around my neighborhood today and it bears no resemblance to that awful day in 1974. Homes are standing, trees have grown to maturity, kids are playing, and birds are singing. That’s the cycle of life. Bad things will happen. We’ll face adversity, and some of the challenges will seem insurmountable. But it’s what we do to move forward after the storm that defines us.

Hopefully your day started off like any other, and hopefully that’s how it will end. We can never predict the challenges we’ll face, and most of them will be completely undeserved. But somewhere among those challenges we find blessings – a friendly smile, a warm meal, the laughter of a child, the love of a pet. And in focusing on those blessings, the challenges become more manageable.

You can never anticipate all the storms life will throw your way, and you can never be fully prepared for any of them. But in the way we handle life’s most insignificant challenges, we prepare ourselves to move forward from whatever life throws our way. Put a little positivity in the bank each day. You never know when you’ll need some.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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