Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bending in a Storm

Found this essay from a year ago.  Seemed apt for this April weather.

A tornado passed near our town yesterday. We were blessed. Although we’ve been without electricity for over 24 hours now; our home, garage, and cars are intact. Some of our neighbors haven’t been so lucky. Many of their towering old trees broke in half or cracked along an enormous limb. These came crashing down on cars, homes, streets and sidewalks.

I was home when the violent storm started. The power shut off and I debated whether I should go into the basement--but it was hard to leave my view at the window. My three-story-tall Black Walnut trees were bending and swaying ferociously. The 80mph winds shook my lovely, old giants—but they did not break.

How did my stately trees survive? Despite their great size, they somehow were able to bend in that murderous wind. I’m not a tree expert; perhaps Black Walnuts are a heartier species. Still, the three in our yard must be internally healthy to have weathered that incredible force.

The storm battered our psyches too.

My husband, Rick, doesn’t feel confident with household maintenance. And since he is “the man of the house,” and I know much less than he does, the burden falls to him. When something goes wrong in our home, he often panics.

When we lost electricity in the storm, I assumed it would be restored quickly, as usual. But as the hours passed and the sump pump filled, Rick began to feverishly bail water. We didn’t have a backup generator. Without electricity our pump wouldn’t work and our basement would flood. I pitched in bailing as Rick carried buckets away. But the storm continued and after several hours we had only kept pace with the incoming water. We couldn’t bail all night. Now it was late, stores were closing and we had few options.

Rick was in a downpour of panic now. I recognized the symptoms. When overwhelmed with fear, in a situation I detest, I too make poor decisions, creating more work and more stress.

Luckily, at the last moment, a neighbor offered an outlet on his generator.

The next morning, I joined a crowd of neighbors to view the devastation. While the wind had only raged for 10 minutes, the cleanup would take weeks. I thought of the psychological storms that rage inside us and how these too cause damage that requires lengthy clean-up. When confronted with the situations we detest, both Rick and I can be overwhelmed by an emotion, or battered by an alter-ego. The storm takes over, devastating our thinking or our plans.

Why did some trees break? Were they brittle inside? Or diseased? From the outside they appeared healthy (at least to me).

The storms come, both inside and outside ourselves. Either way, we clean up the damage. Today we move tree limbs and clean warm refrigerators, hoping the electricity comes soon. Likewise, Rick and I try to learn from our emotions. We strive to keep ourselves from getting brittle. Then, when the storms come, we can bend.  
 © 2011 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved No more to read on this post. Even though Blogger says

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