Here in the UK we were battered by hurricane-force winds and huge amounts of rain last week. Storm Ciara caused flooding, loss of power and damage to road and railways. We were lucky enough to face no significant damage where we live, but for some people, the life they knew is now submerged under flood water.
In Peaced Together, we look at how the storms we face in life can affect us. Sometimes we face painful circumstances that are beyond our control. We might face illness, the loss of a loved one, relationship breakdown or other difficulties. But there is always a choice in how we respond to these situations; we can hunker down and dwell on how hard life is, or we can look for good even in a terrible event.
Storms can sound terrifying; as I lay in bed on Friday night I was afraid that the howling wind would tear our roof away! But in the morning I could see that all was well. The wind’s ‘bark was worse than its bite’. When we face a storm in life, fear can amplify it’s impact on our mind. Our thoughts can run away with us as we imagine the long-term impact of the situation we face. Will I be able to work again? Will my friendship ever recover? How will I cope without this person? It’s important to deal with these fears and face each moment as it comes. A helpful way to do this is to choose to turn our thoughts to looking for the treasure the storm has dragged up for us.
The day after a storm, we find objects displaced, and this is not always a bad thing. Our fence might be damaged and the trampoline might be in the neighbour’s tree! But we might find interesting and beautiful debris washed up on a beach, trees stripped of their weaker branches and loose seeds spread far and wide. If we look for it, we can find treasure in the disruption caused by the personal storms we face. Perhaps in the turbulence and pain our friendships have progressed to new depths or we have developed a positive character trait.
A storm can wipe out everything we know as normal – all the comforts and certainties of life. We might have lost our home, sentimental possessions or even someone we love. This is very distressing and painful. But these difficulties also force us to find strength we didn’t know we had and draw us closer to the people around us.
When we look for treasure after the storm, we give hope a foothold and can start to look forward.