Monday, October 29, 2012

Weathering the Storm

Sometimes it seems like life is one impressive storm after another. This week, as a huge storm (I've heard it called: Frankenstorm) approaches the eastern coast of our country, residents are doing the best that they can to batten down the hatches. Boards have been fastened over windows, services like subways, trains, and flights have been cancelled, businesses and schools have closed, and many people have been evacuated in preparation.

As I watched the news last night, various scenes flashed across the TV screen. One showed people inside of a store frantically shoving items like bottled water, canned goods, etc. into shopping carts. Another featured a stubborn resident who was refusing to leave the area, claiming he had nowhere to go and he wanted to protect his home. As such, he was busy loading up bags with sand from a nearby beach. Only time will tell if this was a wise decision.

A year after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, my husband and I spent two weeks in the area on a business trip. We saw firsthand some of the damage that can take place when a storm of this magnitude descends. Some images will always haunt me, like the flattened homes, others with numbers revealing how many were found dead and alive, and a cemetery with empty tombs--everything had washed out to sea.

It helped to see the determination to rebuild. Everywhere we looked, despite the overwhelming devastation that had taken place, people were stubbornly piecing their homes and businesses back together. Most had done this before, and they told us they would do so again if another storm came through.

Before our trip to New Orleans, I wondered why anyone would want to live in a place that is prone to massive storms. After spending two weeks exploring the area, I could see why. I fell in love with New Orleans and all it had to offer. It is a beautiful city, full of history, art, music, romance, and excellent cuisine. A seafood fan, I consumed some of the best shrimp, oysters, etc. that I've ever had the pleasure to sample during our stay in 'Nawlins. The Cajun spices appealed, although I did draw the line over the deep-fried blue crabs. Spiders are not my friends and in my opinion, those small crabs resembled deep-friend tarantulas. Just sayin' . . .

Regardless, I came away from Louisiana with a deep respect for those who have the courage to live in a storm-prone state. Their sense of culture, tradition, and endurance impressed me greatly. I have often thought of their resilience as I have faced storms in my own life.

We all experience storms during our adventure of a lifetime. Some are more like light mists that barely douse our lives. Others are of such scary magnitude, we want to run screaming the other way. I think what matters most is how we decide to confront these challenges. Do we run in a panicked circle exclaiming the sky is falling, or do we simply do our best to secure our foundation and weather the storm? It has been my experience that we often don't know how we'll react until the storm is on the horizon. That's when we discover our mettle, as my grandmother would call it--and often realize that we can shine the brightest when all around is dark.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Isn't it About "Time?"

The other day someone asked me how things were going. I smiled and answered, "Well, I'm never bored." The reply to that response was: "Aren't you glad?" I've thought about that conversation this past week, and have decided that I am glad I'm not bored. It seems like every day there are so many things that I can try to accomplish--it's like a never-ending list.

I usually try to write in the early morning hours, since that is when my creative juices seem to flow. Then I dive in on the daily adventure which is often a combination of household chores, errands, etc.Though I manage to cross several items off these daily lists, I never quite finish up everything. There are moments when I sigh and wish there were three of me . . . but then again, perhaps there would be three times the amount of things to do. ;)

I do make an effort to attend most family events, since I believe those are the really important items in this life. And since my husband and I both belong to rather large family trees, it seems like there are always weddings, funerals, baptisms, graduations, and new babies to welcome into this mortal world, not to mention reunions, family camping adventures, holidays to celebrate, birthdays to commemorate, and so on.

Then there are crazy days like a Friday I experienced a couple of weeks ago. In that one day I helped my mother pick up the cases of canned food she wanted at the local case lot sale, sang at the local senior center for their weekly entertainment slot, endured a less-than-fun mammogram, entertained my mother-in-law who surprised us with a quick visit for part of the weekend, and cleaned out my abode for the arrival of family members from my side who were coming to hang out during Conference weekend. I'll admit, by the end of that day I fell sound asleep the moment my head hit the pillow. 

It seems like I experience erratic days like that at least once a week. But you know what, there are no regrets. I suspect when my allotted time is over on this mortal sphere, I will experience a tiny bit of satisfaction from knowing that I did my best to make the most out of each day. I may not have always succeeded . . . and there is the glitch I currently endure with having to slow down a bit here and there compliments of my less than cooperative body . . . but for the most part, I have tried to live this adventure of a lifetime with a bit of gusto. 

So, yes, I'm rarely bored, but this is a good thing. Though sometimes I long for a day when I can sit and vegetate, if I ever reach a point in my life when that is all I can do, I will probably not enjoy it much. But maybe even then, I will follow my mother's example, and come up with creative things to do to keep myself entertained. Isn't that part of why we're here--to see how we'll use the time we have been given during this probationary time? The good news is the belief that I have that this life is just the beginning. I believe that we'll have an eternity to continue polishing those talents, friendships, and interests that we've developed on earth. And if that is the case, I suspect I will never be bored--and that is a reason to celebrate.