Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Storms Of Life...

The winds are howling down the street again like white winter wolves. This is our third blizzard in a week with some of the coldest temperatures we’ve ever seen in between the storms. Certainly a week to make lots of soups, stay inside.

This past week has also been a stormy one in our lives. Friday morning, Nick’s stepfather had to be airlifted to Saint John to the hospital that specializes in cardiac care. Nick left work as soon as he could make arrangements and then drove his Mom down there. By the time they arrived, the hospital has performed some tests and discovered that the blockages they could see didn’t match the level of pain Jerome was experiencing, so they decided to schedule further tests rather than perform surgery. They got him fairly stable, so Nick and his Mom spent Friday night in a local hotel but then woke up to all the storm warnings about today. Since most of the tests needed to wait until Monday, Nick and his mother decided to be snowed in here with us instead of a hotel room there, so they came home late last night and were with us when the blizzard began after church. As soon as the snow stops and the roads are clear, they will head back down to Saint John.

The girls have been great, especially Erin. She is on that brink between child and young woman.... incredibly helpful and wise beyond her years one moment and then a giggly little girl then next... but she has been great to have around.

All of the snow and all of the upheaval have made me do a lot of thinking about the storms that happen in our lives. Unlike the weather radar or forecast, we can’t always know what lies around the corner in our lives. Sometimes they are things which can be prevented or foreseen, but many times they catch us unawares, like a sudden snow squall, mud slide or giant wave.

I have comforted my girls as they wrestled with the mortality of those they love for the first time in a tangible and personal way. I have learned that I can pray in my sleep because I have drifted off in the middle of one prayer only to wake up midway through another. I have rejoiced in the everyday moments of silliness that still happen in the midst of stormy times and I have continued to get ready for the show in Nashville or help with Sparks bowling tournaments and Sunday School or prod Erin to work on her big book report because Life must go on, even in the midst of what feels like total chaos.

Today in the middle of the storm, a flock of tiny birds came to perch on our Mountain Ash and eat some berries. Every time a strong gust of wind would blow one off mid much, they would flap to a different branch and peck at a few more berries. Finally they flew off as a group to seek shelter in a thicker tree, but the storm did not deter them from getting their food. They didn’t wait until it had passed, but just braved it instead to get what they wanted.

One of my favourite posters when I was younger showed a grove of birch trees in the snow and carried the words “A tree which learns to bend with the winds of a storm will not be broken or uprooted.”

I think I shall try to be a flexible tree instead of a solid one... maybe I will lose less branches that way!