Nature has an extraordinary habit of teaching the most powerful kind of life lessons. The life cycle of a natural storm is no exception, and provides insight for the metaphorical storms that we may face. Continuing with the “Storms” series, this piece looks at the first of three stages of the storm life cycle. Focusing on the process of cloud formation, it looks at how we may experience “cumulus” in our own lives.
Storms are an inevitable part of the human experience. At some point, we all have to suffer our portion of grief, loss, tragedy and darkness. These sustained moments of strife often cause us to face impossible choices. You may wail until your throat is sore, tears may fall until your eyes sting, and your mind may be filled with questions starting with “why”. You learn quickly that storms by nature are unfair. No one can escape them, most cannot predict them, but we all have to weather them.
The question is – how are you weathering your storm?
The grass always seems greener on the other side.
It is easy to assume that those in different seasons, places and relationships are experiencing life at a greater quality than our own. We are ready to believe that if we just receive what we lack, our discontentment will disappear. We crave that unspeakable joy, and chase it by going after new things, new statuses and new people. However this quest for “more” finds us constantly running to another life and often missing the beauty in the one that we have.
The last goodbye is often unexpected. Time is a gift we know is limited; yet still manage to take it for granted. When we indulge in conflict, we rarely consider the possibility of an abrupt end. Even when our hearts are not ready, or the wounds still sting, we enjoy having the choice to resolve with our loved ones.
Unfortunately, you cannot anticipate when your last opportunity with someone is. You may have days, you may have months, and if you’re truly blessed, you may have years. Too often people recall their “shoulda, woulda, coulda” moments, regretting arguments for which they can no longer make amends.
But was the fight worth it, or was the relationship worth fighting for?
Now that you are three decades in.
You have come to understand that plans are mere well wishes. It is always better to make one, but it is likely that it will not come to past. You wish anyway. You map out your path knowing His scheme is grander. You have experienced disappointments, and you’ve been shocked by your blessings. You know His time is perfect, even if it does not feel perfect at the time. You must fight to remember when things don’t go to plan, they go to purpose.
To become. To fully embrace oneself. To change or to grow to be.
Whether we appreciate the shifts or not, we are constantly evolving into something new. Our experiences, our interactions and our personal revelations color the way we view and engage with the world. Daily, we become updated versions of ourselves, and the happenings that we experience now serve as our reference point for tomorrow.
When situations seem stagnant, it is hard to believe that we are becoming something new. Yet at the most elementary level, we are at least a little older, perhaps a little wiser and often a little less nimble.
The future never looks like how we imagined it to be.
Even when we’re convinced we’ve considered every scenario and every possibility, we still manage to miss at least one detail in our imagined futures. The unknown is the bittersweet beauty of life. No matter how much we plan today, tomorrow remains unpredictable. Many of us fear the unknown, despite not knowing exactly what it is we fear. In truth, all that we actually know is that the unknown subjects us to change. A change that shakes us more violently the more we plan for what we believe is coming. It is a change that we have no control over. It is a change that we can only begin to understand when it is here, when it has arrived, when it has been confronted.
It is human nature to want to belong. Our very existence has always involved another. We recognize that creation requires connection, and that our expected end involves separation. We crave community, we seek solidarity and we enjoy moments of connectedness that remind us we are not alone. It is therefore no surprise that one of our greatest fears can be rejection.
Rejection is the moment we anticipated an embrace, and instead was met with a denial. It can leave us disoriented, isolated and quite frankly – deeply hurt. At some point, we have all tried to avoid it, because on some level we have all experienced it.
What if you allowed yourself to be great?
When considering our fears, we rarely deem ourselves afraid to be successful. After all, isn’t success the aim? We set goals, create visions, and map out plans to realize our dreams, yet sometimes the thought of actually achieving them scares us.
Arguably, the fear of success is much more deadly than the fear of failure. It is a silent killer that lies hidden behind reels of excuses and justifications. This form of self-sabotage is unexpected, yet more common than we’d probably like to imagine.