The Other Side of the Storm
We had a storm last week at the beach. The tempest barged in during the night with gusts of wind that rattled the window screens of my second story rental. Relentless rain drops knocked on the siding like an aggressive intruder.
By morning the storm was in full force. Streets flooded and the power flickered. Water snuck through a loose window casement and puddled on the sill until it overflowed down the wall and on to the carpet. I turned on the lights to illuminate the morning. Outside, the gray fog swallowed up any light.
Once the rain had stopped, I walked to the beach. Wet wind attempted to restyle my hair and saturated sand massaged my bare feet. The waves roared a warning. “Danger! Don’t get close!” Thick sea foam provided a flimsy barrier to the water’s edge. With each thunderous whitecap came another layer of fluff. Occasionally, a gust of wind picked up a cluster of dirty suds and blew them across the flat sand like tumble weeds on a prairie.
By late afternoon, I was on the other side of the storm. Tropical depression Fay had passed to the north. The rain had stopped. The wind blew away the dark clouds. The sun returned and provided a rainbow over the ocean. All was well again.
Mother nature is amazing. She can unleash a powerful force that leaves us scrambling for cover. And then, she invites us out of hiding with her beauty. She teaches us to be resilient. We need to listen to her, trust her, and be patient.
The pandemic has been an overwhelming storm in our lives. Its impact has been multi-leveled.
Mentally, the waves of uncertainty and fear crash in our heads. The whirlwind of additional virus news clouds our thoughts and disguises clear thinking.
Physically, the threat of a dangerous disease keeps us on guard. The storm is invisible, yet all around us. There is no visual evidence of gathering clouds. Wind does not slap our faces and there is no rain to slow our movement. We are left to guess where danger lurks.
In the wake of the storm, the work place is vacant. Instead, jobs bleed into homes as families juggle the pieces of their lives. All of the balls cannot continuously remain in the air. Some drop to the ground with a thud.
School classrooms nervously sit idle like understudies waiting in the wings to perform. Uncertainty is the only constant. The thought of sending our precious children into the unknown is frightening. Yet, we know they need to advance in their education and we want them to continue to develop their social skills.
The storm persists. The clouds thicken more each day. How can we keep up our hope for the other side of the storm? How can we stay resilient and know that this too shall pass? The only known is our unknown.
I see remarks that say we are all in this together but I dispute that message. I know that others are far deeper in this crisis than I am. I yearn to understand their pain. I want to offer a meaningful response. But, without living their experience, I cannot feel it and therefore I cannot genuinely react to it.
I am retired. I do not have to worry about my return to the work space. My pension is established. I am financially secure.
I am fortunate to have my children and grandchildren within the radius of a short car ride. No perilous airplane trips separate us. They are there for me and I am there for them at a moment’s notice.
My grandchildren are at various stages of their education. They are all blessed with highly capable parents. They live in supportive communities and enjoy fine living spaces. While there are certainly ups and downs in their households, I feel secure that my family will pass through to the other side of the storm.
I used to cut my own hair when I was in high school. So, I reverted back to my old habit as I wait to see my magical stylist again. Snip, snip. I trim my multi-colored locks and watch the kaleidoscope of hair fall in to the bathroom sink. And then I put on my yellow sun hat.
Physically and mentally, I focus on my own health. I feel confident saying no to situations that are not right for me. I am grateful that I have kept up with my personal maintenance routines and did not put off necessary medical monitoring. Yet, I take nothing for granted. I know life can always throw a curve ball. I keep my catcher’s mitt on just in case.
So, this is not a message filled with answers. I honestly do not know any. It is not a piece with false hope to tell you that everything will be okay tomorrow. That would be cruel. Instead, it is a whisper of hope from a beautiful place. I am blessed that my vantage point is the beach. I know that I am very lucky. It is quiet and peaceful here. I do not need to interact very much with the rest of the world. I appreciate my distance. I have enjoyed family visits here with me. I am glad that I can see first-hand that they are safe. I have food. I have shelter.
I guess all I can say in this pandemic post is that I hope you can stay well too. I am not insensitive to your struggles and your losses. It is hard. Friends, I sincerely hope you can remain optimistic as we wait for the other side of the storm together. I believe there will be another rainbow, someday.