At some point – the rain must stop, the wind must cease, and the immediate havoc of your experience must fade away. No matter how destructive they may be, storms are temporary. Quite often, they leave as abruptly as they arrive. You are forced to reckon with your wreckage, and make meaning out of what is left, in order to face what is to come.
The scale of damage can vastly differ. As mentioned before, no two storms are the same. What can destroy one person may barely move another. Whatever you have survived through, has also been the cause of someone’s death. Take a moment to celebrate that. Take a moment to celebrate that somehow, you are still breathing even though you have been battered. Even if it feels like there is nothing to be joyful about, take a moment. The fact that you have made it this far means that there is still more for you to accomplish. The storm is passing – and your time on this earth is not over yet.
The dissipating stage of a natural storm occurs when the downdraft dominates. There is simply no more rising air. In our life storms, there comes a point where it could not get any worse. Your highs are overshadowed by your lows, the memories of your successes have faded, and everywhere you turn is gray. Have you ever been in a space where you don’t even have the energy to smash things? Your storm has left you so weak that you’re emotionally and physically drained. Your tear ducts have hereby resigned and you are all cried out.
I am told that the beauty of the very bottom is that there is nowhere else to go but up. It is when you are at your weakest, that the storm begins to weaken. The worst is over, and the storm dies out barely leaving a trace of its existence.
I have weathered storms before and witnessed its fading. I have once forgotten the headaches caused by weeping, and the sleepless nights caused by worry. So I do believe that “this too shall pass”.
For those who are currently going through.
For those who are currently going through and can barely finish sentences.
For those who are currently going through and are stung by another wedding invitation, another broadcasted promotion, another birth announcement, or another business deal.
Even the bleakest of situations fade too. Dissipation is guaranteed. Storms do not last forever.
You will find that the only evidence of a storm is in its wreckage. Picking up the pieces is often a gradual and highly personal process. When sorting through your remains (the remains of your heart, the remains of your pride, the remains of your confidence) only you can determine what is valuable. What lessons do you take from this experience? What is true about you now that wasn’t before? How do you frame your perspective on what is true?
The difference between being jobless and being in transition is solely in your perspective. Are you beating your diagnosis or are you battling your diagnosis? Are you continuously having marriage problems or continuously working on your marriage? You can allow your storm to define you or you can decide to define your storm.
As the storm dissipates – it is time for healing and it is time for relief. Examine your wreckage and consider your options. Do you need to relocate or do you need to rebuild? This series has pushed me to reflect upon the importance of peace. For me, peace is the art of being still and knowing. Its value is only appreciated during and after the storm.
You will find that the way a storm begins and the way a storm ends, is nothing compared to the way a storm leaves you. As time continues, you will forget the details of how you weathered, but you will be living with who you have consequentially become.
It is important to mourn our losses and consider the damage created by our storms. However ultimately, after the storm dissipates, you have the opportunity to learn, grow, heal and stretch. The story does not have to end with destruction and quite often our survival serves a greater purpose. This truth does not always soothe us, but it can sometimes provide context. In our own healing, we may be an encouragement to others in similar circumstances. Writing this series in the midst of my own storm has continuously confirmed this.
As cyclic as a storm is, it can still be undeniably complex. Last week, I was blessed to be in a room under the voice of Sandra Bland’s mother. Sandra Bland was found dead in a Texan jail cell, where authorities claimed she committed suicide. She was two months younger than me. As I listened to her mother instruct, “Don’t you tell a grieving mother you know her pain!” – it hit me. You cannot explain anyone’s storm and you cannot understand everyone’s pain. You can only encourage someone to continue.
My hope is that regardless of what stage you find yourself in, you begin to find peace in the midst of your storm. Peace does not mean that you will not feel pain. Peace does not mean that you will understand the “why”. Peace simply means that you can be still, you can know, and you can trust a brighter day is coming.
So continue, keep weathering and look out for a brand new series next week.