AND Look Beyond the Storm

February 1st, 2015

The Northeast Coast of the US, as well as some inland areas, were visited this past week by a blizzard so powerful, it earned a name—Juno. Juno barreled up the coast causing coastal flooding in some areas, wind speeds close to hurricane level, and snow amounts from approximately eight to thirty inches in targeted areas. Snowdrifts were in multiple feet amounts. It lasted, in some cases, in excess of twenty-four hours. Mother Nature, in all her fury, announced her presence and commanded we humans obey travel limitations, and common sense for venturing outside in temperatures whose wind chills were below zero.

And in the majesty of the storm, I was struck by the remarkable beauty of a threatening and ever changing sea, howling winds, and prohibitively high snow drifts. As I stood in a warm home looking out the window, I was filled with gratitude for a warm home when so many have no access to the same.

When I went outside to clear the drifts around the generator, I was most appreciative of the calm I could experience under such threatening conditions because I had a back-up system if the electricity went out. Many people don’t even have heat, let alone a back-up system.

I watched as water flooded some coastal areas during the high tides. Thankfully, the waves, despite great heights, only bounced off the seawall. And again, I felt grateful. I talked with my Dad whose neighbors had shoveled his driveway, thereby alleviating any need for him to venture into the storm. And again I was filled with gratitude for such caring neighbors who watch out for a very special man.

These reflections are not about what I have. In an interesting way, it’s not really about what anyone has, in terms of possessions. What it is about is the awareness that many conditions that disrupt our routines, conditions that we call storms, enter our lives at unexpected times and, often, in unexpected ways.

Sometimes they are convenient, sometimes not. Sometimes they are truly destructive, sometimes not. They usually change our daily routines and cause us to take notice of all that life brings that we do not control.

And we have the choice to either focus on the disruption, inconvenience, or damage or we can look beyond the storm to discover its gifts. I vote for the latter.

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