Waiting for the Storm



A storm is on the horizon. High winds, blowing snow and all the things that accompany them are coming. This usually means driving is dangerous, power lines will go down and ice will blanket the ground. I don't have a generator or a wood stove and I get my water from a well. When the power goes out, there's no electricity and no water. Everything normal is suspended for a time.


There are preparations I make,some practical and some spiritual. I set aside gallons of water for drinking and washing, check my flashlights, radio and batteries, take out my emergency candles and make sure that matches and extra blankets are easy to find. I pour out offerings to Thor, asking for him to temper the storm and keep me safe. So far, I've been safe through every storm and there's been no damage to my home.


After I've finished with all of my preparations, there's not much to do, but wait. For some reason, when I know a storm is coming, I feel less pressure to be productive. I let myself relax and ride out the storm. There's nothing I can do to stop the storm, so I embrace it and reach for my stack of books or some sewing and let myself get absorbed in what I'm doing.


Maybe part of what's comforting about the storm is that I know it can only last a few days, at most. Many of us have been living through a much longer storm, so knowing that this one will be brief is actually helpful. Being focused on something other than the storm doesn't make the storm any less powerful or any shorter, but it moves its importance and uncertainty off to the side.


Sometimes, what we need is not to ignore reality, but to focus on another part of it. Sometimes, that's not denial, but self-preservation. Focusing on what's out of our hands can lead us to feel powerless, and while we're not all-powerful, we do have some power and it's up to us to reconnect with it and use it in a way that feels liberating, loving and purposeful.


If we let it, a little uncertainty can be freeing. It can show us that another way of thinking and being is possible. Sometimes, we don't realize how much something means to us until it's taken away, however briefly. And every now and then, we lose something and realize we're better off without it. Whether we dread it or look forward to it, it's inevitable that storms will come. If we bend with them, we're more likely to stay rooted.


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