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Monday, August 23, 2010

Forecast: Stormy Weather

What a day!  This stormy weather reminds me of how stormy life can be.  You wake up in the morning, see the sunshine and say to yourself looks like it will be a beautiful day.  You step outside and notice the dark clouds approaching, so much for that nice weather.  But life like nature, not only needs the sun, but the rainy weather as well.  Those beautiful days are what sustain us during the dark stormy ones.  As we wait for the storm to pass, knowing all to well that without the water, there is no new growth.  So to when we suffer misfortune and losses in our lives; we have the choice of weathering the storm or letting it sweep us away. 

Just as the plants need the water, we to need the graces that come from our pain.  Like the plants we grow stronger, more resilient, we learn to sway with the winds.  If we are fortunate we have shelter to keep us safe from the storms, we have family, friends and even at times strangers, who say or do the right things at the right time.  These shelters come in and out of our lives as we need them.  They also serve as beacons guiding us when we are adrift in a sea of endless worry, pain and suffering.  Still others help keep us grounded, anchoring us safely to prevent us from being tossed about.  

All too often in the past few years, I have sought out some form of shelter, looked for the lighthouse, or rocked back and forth gently while anchored safely.  All these unsung heroes in my life, helped me through what seemed like never ending storms.  Grief is still a strong undercurrent in my daily life, I miss Rachel, my Dad and all my other relatives who have died, some days are calm and sunny; still others seem to upset me, leaving me tired and exhausted.  

I have recently taken part in a bereavement support group, and when I arrived at the site, all sorts of fears and apprehension came over me like a wave.  I felt nervous, unsure that what I was doing was right, how would I be viewed, would they pass judgment, all the things that often stop us from taking that next step - fear of the unknown.  I took a deep breath and walked in knowing full well that this might be very painful, especially since I would be encountering raw grief.  Grief that was tangible, that penetrated to the core of my being, rehashing all those emotions I felt after the shock of Rachel's death had worn off, and reality had set in.  When I got home that first evening, I was exhausted, totally drained and in bed by 9 p.m., but I felt good.  I had confronted another storm, had managed to come through it, and really felt good about it.  I would like to believe that I helped at least one person who was there that night, but I can truly say, they helped me more than they could ever imagine.  Their willingness to let someone else enter into their pain, the trust of sharing what they were feeling, and the hope that for them, their is a light at the end of the tunnel, was reassurance for me.  It also allowed me to see how far I had already come, and even though I still know that there are many more dark and stormy days to come, I will God willing, weather them safely.  

So take comfort in the rain, savor its nurturing, refreshing and life-giving gift, and await the sunshine with renewed hope.  Take one day at a time and look for those safe harbors in your life, and when you feel uncertain of your next step, just stretched out your hand and let someone else guide you safely.

Blessing! and until we meet again.

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