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“Time Warned Area”

April 16, 2022
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I have always loved storms. I have no idea why. I just know something feels like home when I hear thunder roll and rain pounding the roof. I am not afraid when I hear the weather apps shout their warnings. I am alert but not alarmed, on watch but not panicked. I am at the height of focus as I calmly ensure everyone has a flashlight and gets to their safe place, but I am not scared. I do hate the tragedy and devastation that storms can bring. The aftermath that leaves good people in need, that imprints loss on hearts that will never forget, and creates empty spaces where the tall and strong once stood. These things are often a heartbreaking result of these storms I love. I would never wish that pain upon anyone. But in that moment, when the rain is falling and the sky is revealed in forks of electrified light, when others are fearful, I am at my most serene. Even in the quiet moments of the evening when the weather is perfect outside and I am writing or creating, I play the sounds of thunderstorms for background noise.

I am sure there are a hundred different psychological insights as to why that is my response to the sound of storms brewing, and someday when I have more time, I will chase those down. But it does not take a PhD to see that while I feel comfortable at the sound of skies rumbling, my children do not. As another round of weather warnings sounded across the house for the third or fourth time in a few weeks, I looked around the closet floor to see my children did not feel the calm that I did. I tried to come up with anything I could to help them pass the time without fear. A word game? Deflect with humor? Pretend there is no storm? Reliving out loud our favorite childhood moments and memories? They were not interested in any of my attempts. There was nothing else I could do. We were just waiting. It was the only thing they wanted to do. Just sit in silence and wait for the storm to pass us by. Would it not be better for them to choose to do something positive to take their minds off the trouble of the blowing wind?

It made me think . . . what do we do in the midst of a storm in our lives?

I can honestly say that when the winds blow and thunder rolls in my own life, I am not as calm as I am at the sound of a real storm. I start spinning, fixing, looking for emergency response, grabbing Band-Aids and plywood to cover up that mess anyway I can. I look for the fastest route possible to get out of that storm. I get scared. I worry. I do not find a positive thing to do while I wait for the storm to pass. Why?

Unlike my reactions to actual harsh weather, I have not found a way to see by the lightning. I have not discovered comfort within the sounds of the rain pelting. I have not figured out how to pick out the praise in the storm. Like my kids, hunkered down in that safe shelter, I do not know what to do when the storm arrives in my life.

What would be different if I could?

Could I find light to shine in that darkness? Could I find a way to see the laughter in the face of the unknown? Could I spend time reflecting on the beautiful moments and blessings in my life when blessings are hard to find? Could I walk forward in my calling and mission despite the rain? Most of all, while I wait, could I pray?

Could I find serenity in this storm until it is passed? Yes. Yes, I can. And so can you. We don’t have to panic and we don’t have to sit waiting.

How about we do this together? Let’s find a positive way to pass the time while we wait. Instead of sitting here in the dark, counting the minutes, let’s make the minutes count. Instead of looking for a way to fix a storm we have no control over, let’s spend the time being creative with what we have by the sound of the falling rain. There will come a time for recovery and revelation when the skies clear. But right here, right now, in the middle of the swirling wind, let us not be frozen in fear while we wait. Let’s reach for whatever light we can find. Let’s be alert. Let’s listen for instruction. Let’s pray. Sing. Laugh. Let us use this moment instead of just waiting for it to pass so we live again. Let’s live though it instead.

Don’t wait.

Shannon Leach is an inspirational encouragement writer and the owner of A Repurposed Heart and ARH Inspirations. Her authentic stories and books about leadership, life, and loving people focus on encouraging others and reminding them they are not alone. Her work can also be found in Guideposts and multiple Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is the co-founder of the nonprofit The Fostered Gift.
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