Thursday, June 2, 2011
Weathering the storms
With yesterday’s threatening weather here in Massachusetts, I decided this morning that I would try to focus on what I can control in my life. Sometimes it is hard to see the big picture, or know what the future holds, but I can pay attention to and celebrate what is in front of me. After dropping my children off safely at school, I returned to the shelter of my home, with its roof securely attached, stepped outside into my debris-free backyard, where the hundred-year-old pines where still standing, and looked up at the clear blue sky and breathed in the cooled off air. I snipped some flowers from my admittedly neglected gardens and gathered them for the photo above. Sometimes I forget how much beauty is around me. Today was the perfect time to take a moment and be thankful for it.
Even though I feel like I am going through a transitional phase in my life and am experiencing more stress and uncertainty than usual, I am grateful that the problems I am faced with are not the unimaginable ones. What would you do if the roof of your home blew off? If all the contents of your life were pulled out of context and went swirling up into the sky only to land miles away from where you put them last? How would you react if you were given a brief warning period to “take cover?” What would you try to save? Who would you most want to protect?
Yesterday, I spent the day glued to my twitter stream, where I first heard about the impending tornadoes, and later spent hours in front of the television, snuggled tightly on the couch with my boys all around me, as we kept an eye on what Mother Nature was doing to the cities and towns not that far away from us. Earlier, I had texted my husband, “Where are you?” When he told me he was working in Hopkington, which was one of the Western Massachusetts towns on the take cover list, I ordered him to stay put until the storm passed. Of course he joked that they were about to get on the road and do some storm chasing, but he did manage to get home without incident despite the swirling winds and pounding rain. I honestly did not rest until the lightening showers ended which was pretty close to midnight.
Even with all of the advance notice, that a tornado may strike, how did I spend those eight or so hours? Mostly too worried to do anything productive. My main concern was that my family was safely at home. Did I pack up some family photos just in case I had to bring them down into the basement with us? Yes. Did I stop when I ran out of room in the suitcase? Yes. I decided I’d rather just sit with my kids until the storm passed than run around like a crazy person trying to preserve memories “just in case.” Because what really matters is people and not things. Just being there for each other, through good times and bad, sometimes has to be enough. None of us know when we will be face to face with a “state of emergency,” and sometimes even when we have been given notice, there is nothing more we can do than take one day, one hour or one breath at a time.