Thursday, November 7, 2013

Facing the front

I'm a light sleeper. I believe I've already written about that here, probably more than once.

For the past few days, I've been mulling a post about how frequently things change in our lives. It's the same kind of post that just about everyone in the world has read, usually penned by someone in the midst of personal upheaval. The gist of my thoughts is quite familiar: The only thing that's truly permanent is change. It's the one constant factor upon which we can rely.

It became crystal clear to me overnight, as I was awakened countless times by the noise of wind punishing the trees outside and rain trying determinedly to beat its way into our home. All those noises that woke me were the indicators of change coming—colder temperatures, precipitation where there had been none, wind rushing forth to usher in the new weather pattern. Each time the gusts blew with vehemence, I was reminded anew that I'd wake to a very different kind of day than the one that had preceded it.

My husband? My son? They slept through it peacefully, oblivious to the disturbances just a few feet away.

I think it must be nice to sleep through the approaching storm. I can't do it. I feel it, I hear it, I'm jerked awake over and over again with each new gust front. There are things swirling around me in my life, the lives of my family members, and I feel them full force: New patterns, difficulties and obstacles, unwelcome shifts in behavior and lifestyle.

I guess I am a person who directly faces the gust front in order to feel prepared to handle what's coming. I want to be ready each time a front nears... but is that even possible? Knowing that it's lurking doesn't really prepare you for what it's bringing. And yet, you can't spend your life waiting in an underground shelter. Sometimes I'd prefer to be like those folks who simply sleep through the oncoming storm, but I wonder how they do it. Are they standing sideways, weathering the blast without even realizing it's here? And what about those who never see it coming at all? Are their backs to the wind? Doesn't it blow them right over? How can they withstand the force without ending up on their faces?

I suppose there's a comfortable balance, of knowing but not dreading—preparing, but not suspending life during the prep. I have yet to achieve that balance. I face the front, and fret, and watch its swirling destruction. And yet, as someone recently reminded me, we humans are a resilient bunch for the most part. The changes wash over us, and we adjust our internal gauge to accommodate the "new normal." And happily, our stalks usually grow stronger when the wind is damaging. Sometimes we break, but far more often, we endure.

With help, we endure.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. -Nahum 1:7


RETA said...

Lovely writings - keep posting!

Athelas63 said...

I think it all depends on how you face it, too. I saw this summer when I was overseas how during monsoon rains I rushed towards shelter, trying to avoid getting soaked, leaping over puddles while the locals just put their heads down and trudged onward. In the end we were all soaked and muddy but I was the one out of breath and pissed off. They were still smiling cheerfully and unconcerned. I tried to slow down after that and not get so wound up about the stuff I couldn't control.