Last Thursday afternoon seemed fairly normal. After a day of running around doing this and that, I had picked up my daughter from school and we were watching a little Doctor Who and chatting when we heard thunder. I had seen on the radar that a storm was coming so it wasn't a huge shock. To be on the safe side, I ran upstairs to shut the garage door. What happened next was unreal. I could tell the wind was a lot stronger than usual as I hit the button to protect my car from the elements. It was then my daughter yelled that a branch had fallen in our yard. By the time I came back downstairs, our very mature silver maple was snapping off limbs like little twigs. Our yard looked like a war zone in a matter of seconds.
Later, we assessed the damage. It's unclear if our silver maple will survive. Our pear tree definitely will not. We lost a few shingles and I'm waiting to hear from the roofing contractor. After a quick drive through our part of town, we realized we fared better than many in the neighborhood. Now a week later, I'm looking back on what I learned:
- Gratitude - for me the storm, at worst, was an inconvenience. Many neighbors suffered major damage to their homes and automobiles. I suffered a few days of yard clean-up. I'm also grateful there will be fewer leaves to rake.
- Neighbors - never underestimate your neighbors as part of the value of your home. After they cleaned up their own messes, two of my neighbors were helping me out with the debris in my yard, chainsaws running. (Of course, we made our wives nervous when dislodging stubborn branches. Imagine Grumpy Old Men meets Cirque du Soleil, and you have a good image of the activity around our house.)
- Accomplishment - often things take longer than estimated or projected. As long as you keep making forward progress, it's all good in the end.
- Long View - the storm lasted seconds. It's now a week later and most of the mess is clean. Most of life's storms are like this also. Remember: this, too, shall pass. Right after the storm passed, a beautiful double rainbow appeared in the sky... just a reminder that everything will be alright.
- Resourcefulness - I now have a large stack of wood for future firepits with my family and friends. Sometimes storm produce resources you didn't realize you had.
- Timing - I was grateful I hadn't yet returned to full-time consulting work so I had time to deal with the effects of the storm. Sometimes things just have a way of working out.
City crews are picking up the debris this week. The roof will get fixed. And things will get back to normal. There will be other storms, weather and otherwise. But for a few brief moments, my best teacher was a bit of atmospheric upheaval. What are you learning from the storms in your life?