We all know what it feels like after a storm has passed; the air has a fresh smell about it. Mother earth has had a nice cleansing, the trees glisten with their freshly washed leaves. It is refreshing and a sense of renewal hangs everywhere. However, if the storm has taken lives, if it leaves a wake of damage in its path, we will probably not sense the cleansing affect of the storm. We will only see the damage, we will only see the pain and grief.
The devastating storms that struck Kentucky and Indiana in early March took many lives and changed hearts forever. It left in its path broken buildings, dead bodies, and survivors who were in shock and grief stricken.
It will take time for people and entire communities to rebuild their homes and lives. It will take time to heal the emotional pain and suffering. It will take time to feel somewhat "normal" again. Time is the ever present healer. However, even time cannot completely heal the wounds. Time cannot wipe away the scars that remain. Time will not erase the memories or fear of another storm on the horizon.
Life itself is a lot like those tornados that wreaked havoc on so many. We all have many storms to endure. One thing I've come to realize, as long as we live, as long as we take another breath, there will be something dark and foreboding on the horizon. There will always be an issue, there will always be something that must be dealt with. It might be losing a job, divorce, losing a loved one, foreclosure, and it might be cancer.
When you think about it, our storms are always about losing something or someone. If we can go through life without holding onto people and things so tightly, if we can learn to live without thinking we own things that we really don't, if we can only relax a bit and realize that everything we enjoy is only borrowed. This includes all our material possessions, the people we love, and our life itself. Everything has a beginning and an end.
As I grow older, I am always amazed at how fast time has gone. It seems like just yesterday that our kids were small and the school and church activities were endless. I look in awe at how quickly my youth has vanished. I know that it is so important to accept and enjoy each stage of life we're in. I also know we must have peace with our past in order to have acceptance of the present and future. I know that each day, no matter what we are enduring, brings blessings to be had.
I believe if we can accept the natural flow of life, including the aging process, then we will open our hearts and minds to enjoy each day to the fullest. If we can accept the fact that we won't live forever, that someday we will leave this life for one much better than we ever imagined, we will have made peace with the fact that we are not immortal.
I'm not saying to give up the fight. I'm not saying to throw in the towel. Always, always give it your all. However, sometimes when we think its the end, its only the beginning! Think of the lowly caterpillar and the cocoon; when he thought it was the end, when the caterpillar is wrapped in a small and dark cocoon, when he thought it was over and done, it was only the beginning of a new and beautiful creation.
Life is like that. We are constantly going through transitions. Most of them are so small we miss them. Many times they happen in tiny increments that take a lot of time. We are all constantly in a state of change. Even as we age and our skin starts to wrinkle and our memory is fading, we are growing in awareness of what really matters.
I wish I had the insight thirty years ago that I have now. However, perhaps that's not how life happens. Perhaps I am just where I need to be today. Perhaps my life will come full circle and I have peace in believing that I will live each day knowing that this moment is all I have. Its all any of us have.
We waste so much of our precious time on negative emotions. This only robs us of positive energy which brings all the good things we need to live, love, and laugh.
Today I will listen to the birds sing, I will breathe in fresh country air, I will write, I will pray and give thanks for my many blessings. I will honor my life and who I am. I will acknowledge to our creator that I am just where I need to be and open my heart to new beginnings.