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Lightening Strikes - Thunder Rolls

No one is immune to the weather patterns of life.   Life's storms will come and go each passing year in much the same way as they occur in nature.  There are times when we can predict with some accuracy their arrival....perhaps certain events or seasons of the year bring with them strong winds, or we see a loved one's choices leading them towards dark skys. Often we are aware a storm is brewing just beyond our view.  There are subtle signs that we recognize in ourselves and our loved ones that whisper, "you may need an umbrella tomorrow." Here in Washington on the most beautiful of days, if I see the tree leaves turned upward by the breeze or the mountains so clearly that their detail appears to be painted against a blue canvas - I know that a change in the weather is fast approaching.  I can't change the course of the weather but at least I am aware of it's unpredictable predictability.

In Western Washington something unusual happened this year.  I would more accurately state that something usual happened with unusual endurance.  It is a weather phenomenon called an Inversion.  An Inversion pattern is not uncommon in the Pacific NW but our most recent one lasted longer than the normal day or two.  As a result an eery fog settled in, absolute stillness no wind no rain and the temperature dropped into the teens bringing with it freezing fog and black ice. 

There was a quite grey hush to the city  as visibility was reduced to less than a quarter mile for several days in a row.  Even the trees were forced to conform to the new color standard as the frozen fog clung to every barren limb. It is easy for this day after day grey cold to create a heaviness of heart as you literally live within a cloud you have no power to lift.






That being said, there is another side to an inversion pattern...the clear blue sky and sun that exists just beyond the the clouds.  For instance my daughter's high school sits up on a hill just beyond town.  During this same period of time she spent her days under those blue skies and sunshine.  Of course it was still biting cold, but not a cloud to be seen. Our home sits on this same hill but a bit lower than the school and out of the reach of the Sun. The rest of the family honestly didn't believe my daughter when she told us at dinner one night of her beautiful sunny day...and it was only about three blocks above us!

After a week turned into two my family decided to take a drive to a gorgeous location known as Deception Pass on Whidbey Island.  It is the gateway to the San Juan Islands and a deep breath there can bring peace to those who venture out on even the worst winter day.  To our surprise as we entered the Skagit Valley about 20 miles North of us we simply drove out of the cloud that had enveloped us for days on end.  We could see it in our rear view mirror as we continued forward with fresh hope in the day's potential.

We were not disappointed.  It was absolutely gorgeous on the beach that day. The winter moss that clung to the tree limbs would not be there when the daily summer sun arrived.  I reflected upon the fact that this place was within my reach each day during the past two weeks.  I had felt so entrenched where I was at in the dismal fog that I was sure we would need to travel to some distant destination to find this kind of day. Perhaps exactly like our inversion pattern here this year a life storm may begin as something usual that has unusual endurance this time around.  It may seem that there is no escaping the heaviness of a particular burden; that being engulfed in the grey is inescapable.  When you actually only need to walk a few blocks up the hill to find the sun light you seek.  

It takes a strong wind and often a rumbling thunder storm to break through a dense inversion.  Storms - the ones within us and those around us - can be fierce.  In many cases they are devastating.  One thing they always facilitate is change.  The storm never cares if you welcome the change. Life's thunder moves us forward.  I have felt that turbulence as it has rolled through my own life.  I have witnessed it in the lives of many through the years.  I know that some storms take those we love from us. They can dramatically change our individual landscape.  I also know that we can not bring an end to someone else's storm for them.  We can offer them comfort from the elements, we can help them catch a glimpse of the sun's rays just beyond their current sight, but they alone must see the storm through to it's conclusion.  Each of us must decide how the clouds in our life will affect our future. 

I have learned (although I still need to remind myself) that I need not fear life's storms.  When I have chosen to push forward through the pelting storms of life I have discovered the joy of dancing in those same rains.  It is true a storm at times requires some clean up work.  Perhaps navigating the new landscape is difficult at best.  Peace is also found amid life's storms holding an umbrella to share.  We need only be willing move in close enough so that we don't get wet.  Many a night I would comfort one of my children during a thunder storm that woke them stating, "Don't be afraid...that thunder means the sun will shine tomorrow.  Let's count how long it takes until we hear it's rumble again..." 



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