Thursday, 9 August 2012

Sunshine and Storms

We’ve all seen them, especially if we spend any time on the internet; those references to life’s storms, paired with assurances that if we can hang on, sunshine is waiting just behind the clouds.  We see them because it’s an apt simile.  Life, like storms, is cyclical.  There are good times and bad, fair weather and foul.

We had an actual, real thunderstorm where I live this week, with dark clouds, fork lightning, and thunderclaps.  It was noteworthy because we rarely see that kind of storm here, and because it was of such short duration.  We for a few spectacular minutes and then it was gone, leaving a fresh scent in the air and a noticeable lightening in the blanket of humidity that had been shrouding us for days.

After the storm moved on, I decided to go for a walk.  It was getting on toward sunset time and the sky was spectacular.  The sun was mostly hidden behind clouds, with some patches of blue sky, and though the clouds were mostly grey the edges were limned with gold and vivid, glowing, peach and pink.  Where the sun did shine through the clouds, it had the focused intensity of a spotlight beam. 

Hard not to think of the storms of life analogy as I walked.

Here’s what I thought:

When we’re in the midst of a life crisis - worried and scared, or depressed and scared, or grief stricken – we don’t want to hear platitudes.  It sounds impossibly optimistic to be told to focus on the sun that we know is hiding behind the clouds.  When people present an image like that to me in times of trouble, I half expect them to change into Annie costumes and burst in to song.

The sun'll come out 
Bet your bottom dollar 
That tomorrow 
There'll be sun!”

It may well be true but it doesn’t address the problems that are causing the storm, or your fear that you may not make it through to the sunshine.  After all, storms can irreparably alter a landscape.  They can uproot strong trees and break them into kindling.  They may go away but that doesn’t mean that they won’t leave you forever changed when they depart.

So here’s the thing:  If you’re in the midst of one of life’s storms and you’re frightened, it’s okay.  It’s okay to be scared and it’s certainly okay to ask for help.  You’d be surprised at how many people would love to lend a hand, and are prepared to do so.  Do whatever it takes to get you through.

If, when the sun breaks through, you find that you are changed, that’s okay too.  Life is all about change.  Some of it’s good and some of it’s not, but change is constant.  Embrace it and remember that if you need help adapting to your new situation, it’s there for the asking.

There are people all around you who love you, and many who don’t even know you but are filled with compassion, kindness, and generosity.  Reaching out to them when you’re in need is an act of courage, but it’s one of generosity too because people need to help others in order to grow within themselves.  Putting aside your pride in order to ask for help when you’re really in need is a means of giving a gift:  You’re giving your helper the gift of trust, and providing them an opportunity to grow and learn.

So hang in there.  Believe that all shall be well, because it's true.  The sun may shine on a different landscape when the storm has passed but it will shine, and the landscape it illuminates will have a particular beauty all its own.


Jill said...

So true, lovely post :-)


Aunt B said...

Thanks Jill.