I love the rain. I love the sound of it; I love the smell of it. To me, everything about rain is soothing, refreshing and peaceful. It’s restorative and serene; it’s my happy place. But when the rain turns into an angry storm, that happy place is instantly gone.
It no longer has a soothing, refreshing effect and it certainly isn’t peaceful. And instead of being restorative, it can be downright destructive.
Storms are indiscriminate. It doesn’t matter where you live or how you live; if you’re a CEO of a major company or a burger flipper. It makes no difference if you’re affluent or barely getting by. It makes no never mind what type of car you drive or how nice your house is; if you have a well manicured lawn with prize-winning rose bushes. Storms can sweep through with such force and devastation leaving nothing behind except heaps of rubble and debris… and foundations.
Storms reveal foundations.
In the wake of an angry, destructive storm, the landscape can be so completely altered that nothing is identifiable except foundations. Storms can have lasting effects, too. Entire communities can be so completely transformed because of a storm.
Oddly enough, life mimics nature. We can have peace and tranquility, like a gentle rain but then an angry, devastating life storm explodes onto the scene and we’re running for cover.
More often than not, we’re at a loss as to why and how this storm suddenly appeared but there we are, right smack in the middle of it, swatting at it like a fly, trying to get it to go rain on someone else’s parade. No such luck.
I wish I could tell you there’s a sure-fire way to avoid storms. I wish I could tell you storms won’t wreak havoc on you and your family. I wish I could tell you that storms are easy to overcome. It’s just simply not the case. What I can tell you, however, is life storms are defining moments that expose who we truly are. They reveal our foundations.
Our foundations are composed of our values, beliefs, experiences, and character. Foundations are the basis by which we live our lives, that determines whether we react or respond in the midst of a crisis. Fight or flight. When you get right down to it, it’s not so much about the storm itself but what it affirms about us.
I have a friend who has been through more things than most of us have or will ever experience. Her daughter, for instance, has a debilitating disease. Little is known about this disease and there’s no cure.
I have watched my friend weather this particular life storm for quit some time now. She has been dogged in her efforts to get the best medical treatment for her daughter. Ever since the beginning, she has relentlessly pestered, inquired, Googled, questioned, researched, grilled and sought answers on her daughter’s behalf to find options, specialists, and treatments that will help her daughter.
I admire her tenacity, her unceasing efforts, her take-no-prisoners approach. She will stop at nothing to find ways to deal with her daughter’s illness and give her a normal life. She is a momma bear personified.
But with all that tenacity, relentlessness and persistence it takes its toll on my friend. Her health and well being suffer. She has come close to her breaking point many times but rather than throwing in the towel, she falls back on her faith, praying for strength and guidance. She falls back on her friends for support, prayers. We are her sounding board, and momentary distractions. And then she wills all of her might and goes back into the fray.
The way my friend has responded to this life storm has revealed her foundation – her character, her values, her experiences and her faith.
So what do life storms reveal about us? What kind of foundation have we established? What do we do in the face of a storm? Here are some things to consider.
First of all, accept that no one is impervious to life storms. Remember, storms are indiscriminate. Everyone has them.
Nosce te ipsum. Know yourself. This may seem somewhat rudimentary but it’s important to know ourselves well enough, to be cognitive of our go-to responses and reactions when the heat is on. Are we prone to fight or flight? What spurs us into action? Do we reach out or retreat? Where do we draw strength?
Here’s another one…do we allow storms to grow us? Ouch! Do we see storms for what they are, part of life that can procure or tease out more of our character, values and beliefs? Probably not. That kind of growth is painful. But if we ever want to be prepared for other life storms, growth is necessary.
No one should go it alone. Trying to be a steely eyed, lone wolf, Clint Eastwood type taking on impossible odds, winning the day isn’t reasonable. Heck, even Batman has Alfred. Who are your Alfreds? Who are your sounding boards, your prayer supports, your momentary distractions?
Make time for respite. Recharge your batteries. All warriors need rest. This will also help you gain a fresh look at things, give you a different perspective; to see how far you’ve come and where you need to go next.
Storms pass. Maybe not as quickly as we’d like but they do pass. And after a storm, there’s a rainbow to encourage us; to remind we were created to succeed, to overcome. We are strong.
Be strong and let your heart take courage. Psalm 27:14
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25