A Note To My Kids About Storms

Published October 2018

To my babies,

It’s my wish that you never feel any pain, any true sorrow. As anyone knows, you know, life. It will happen.

(I’m your mom, so I have to tell you about what to do about this. It will be included in the “Life Skills” pamphlet I’ll be giving you in kindergarten, later published in a larger “Things My Mom Thinks She Knows” chapter book I’ll be giving you when you graduate. Autographed.)

Even when the skies are clear with sunshine in the extended forecast, they can come crashing down on you with no warning at all.

You might abruptly find yourself in a dark, loud place, with a million voices all around, telling you a thousand words you don’t understand.

Because you can’t even really figure out where you are, or how you got there, or how to breathe.

Or truth from lies, help from harm.

And it might be disorienting.

And it might be confusing and a little nauseating.

Or it might be that your mind is experiencing some sort of temporary paralysis from truly venomous actions, slowly blurring your world.

Or it might be that your heart was wounded so deeply with something so sharp, it doesn’t even feel the initial pain. It might even still smile with warm bewilderment at the person who dealt the blow.

You might find yourself riding out the most magnificent storm of your life, crouched, not sure where to run.

The kind of storm where winds change direction so quickly, so furiously, the only way to keep upright is to stay on your knees.

So, stay on your knees.

Don’t try to run.

Because in these soul shaking storms that will absolutely drill you, there is more than a silver lining.

There is lightning.

A flash of searing clarity, vast illumination, propelling electricity.

And if you have to weather a storm long enough, that lightning gets bottled inside of you.

That sounds dangerous. Maybe it is.

I’m not sure what one does with bottled lightning. Explode? Very possibly.

I’m not positive just yet, but if you embrace the lightning as it strikes, as extremely painful as it is, you are going to feel your way out of life’s Category 5s on a newly highlighted path, unbroken, yet intensely changed.

There is the fine print risk of exploding, which your heart will also feel anyway…but it sure beats those “dance in the rain” and “look for rainbows” people.