Time passes with crazy, unbelievable events occurring all around me that often stun my heart. I don’t always feel calm, but if I can be still for a bit, I am lucky to find the calm center. The current calm I feel is not a peaceful calm, but more like a calm in the middle of the storm. I’m mostly watching and waiting – not sure for what.
Last weekend, a friend came to visit. She and I have been close for about 45 years (showing my age here!) and I love her through and through. We have experienced a lifetime of events together, such as our families moving during our childhood, our crazy teen years, romantic relationship stories, figuring out careers and how to live on our own. Our very different personalities gives each of us a different perspective on life. Among other traits, I admire her spirit and the swirl of activity that seems to surround her. I can talk with her about anything and her heart is generous enough to receive it in love, so we talked about how the swirl can be tiring for me at times, especially then, right after chemo.
On Monday, the last day of our visit, we were driving the kids to camp and a huge thunderstorm broke.
The rain was hard and fast, and we soon came upon a large puddle in the road.
I know the danger of these puddles. About 15 years ago, I drove my new Saab through a seemingly innocuous but deep puddle in the middle of a road. The water went into the air intake valve, causing the engine to seize. When my boyfriend (now husband) opened the door to get out and push the car, more water came rushing in. The car was totaled.
So on Monday, driving through the storm with my friend, I had flashbacks to that episode. I considered that this puddle might total my new car. I also considered that without my husband in the car, I myself might have to get out to figure out the situation and ruin my cute favorite sandals in the process. I considered waiting out the storm, but it didn’t look like it would end soon and I felt a need to get home. So we drove carefully in low visibility (holding our breath) through the large, deep puddle, and we exhaled when we made it through.
The rain continued and we were surprised to come to another deep puddle, then another. Each one looked harrowing, and after each one, we thought that would be the last and plowed ahead. We did this through countless puddles, each time navigating it carefully and then thinking we were in the clear.
My friend lives in California, which currently has a record drought. She marveled at how green and clean everything appeared, so I took a look around. Our slow driving enabled us to notice some of the beauty. For example, what we initially thought was a waterfall was actually someone’s front steps.
We were still navigating puddles when the rain stopped, so we took pictures.
Once home, we briefly wondered what we would have done if we ran into trouble and laughed with relief that we didn’t have to worry about it. We learned that a tornado had been passing through a nearby town, causing the intense rainstorm. We were amused by the thought of surviving another crazy new adventure after so many years, and happy that neither of us had to get our shoes wet. When we heard about the damage to the town where the tornado touched down, being in the rainstorm didn’t seem so bad.
Sometimes, it seems like I am in the center of the storm when really, I am just experiencing the side effects. And, like a tornado, events move along, even if it is at a snail’s pace and only changing slowly.
I appreciate your company through the many storms that happen in life. At each deep puddle, when I think that this is it, we somehow make it through and assess where we are. I like to think each is the last one and we are then in the clear, but then another seems to come along and we take a deep breath and navigate that.
I’m so glad to survive these all with you, and I appreciate that you help me to see the beauty in them. Thank you.
This post is dedicated to my friend Kathleen, whose spirit went soaring this morning. Fly high my friend. Blessings to you.