Preparing for life’s storms.

It’s late summer, and a hurricane is coming. And it’s like people have never done this before. They’re getting all the gas and buying all the water – but the truth is, you can never really be ready for a storm like this.

The hurricane has me thinking about life’s storms. Often unexpected, one moment you could be sending your child off on the school bus and the next, you could be holding his hand in the back of an ambulance. 

We are blissfully unaware of how our lives could change in an instant. 

It was a fairly normal day when my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I sat in the waiting room nursing my firstborn while she underwent a routine test, and soon we were called back to the recovery room. “This is the big time,” her doctor said. And it was. Eight years later, we have weathered that storm, but you can never get too comfortable in the sunshine.

My Papa recently took a fall, and his life has turned upside down. So have my Nana’s, my mom’s and dad’s and my aunt’s. They sit with him at the rehabilitation facility every day, hoping he will get strong enough to come home. What we wouldn’t give for things to go back to “normal.”

I have been following the story of a 7-and-a-half-year-old girl, who fell and hit her head on what I imagine was a fairly normal day. She suffered a traumatic brain injury and she is now lying in a coma in a hospital, with prayers coming in from all around the world. I can’t stop thinking about her and her family – what her mother must be feeling as she sits helpless by the side of the bed. 

I can’t stop thinking about all the hurt in the world as I cook dinner for my family and wash the dishes and wash the children and wash the laundry – and there are people I love and people I don’t even know who are hurting – and my heart hurts with them. 

I guess it’s best that we walk around in blissful ignorance of brewing storms, because we can’t go through life braced by fear. If we did, nothing would ever get done. We wouldn’t go anywhere or create anything beautiful because we’d be too afraid to ever start. 

But it’s also good to be reminded that sunny days are not a given. Life’s storms are unavoidable. 

We fall sick. We fall down. Things fall apart.

But you know what else we do? We fall in love again, with each other and with this life we are here to live, because of (and in spite of) its storms. 

So how do we prepare for them? Well, first we buy all the water and the gas … and then we walk through life with kindness and grace and love. 

Because you never know what someone else is facing – and your smile from across the room or prayer from across the world could be a shelter from the storm.