The one where I give up storm chasing


Back in his college days my husband helped his best friend Andy storm chase across the state of Oklahoma. Andy was a meteorology student and so clouds, their colors, their movement, were his obsession, his favorite art form.  Like any good Oklahoma chaser, he pursued mostly Tornadic cells, waiting to see the hooks and churning that indicated a funnel cloud may touch down.

Kel was a bit more level headed and stayed home on his computer to help Andy avoid getting sucked up into the sky.  Storm chasing is a serious business here in Oklahoma and if you’ve seen the movie Twister, they tell me it’s not too far fetched.  I wouldn’t know, when the weather gets insane I stay on the couch.

Kel heads out to the back porch to check things out, this is typical Okie behavior by the way, when the weather gets crazy, the crazy go outside.  Native Okies = Crazy

I love to using storms as a metaphor for the difficult seasons in our life, I’m not alone in this. Something about the dark, swirling clouds and the ear splitting thunder soulfully resonates with our human experience.

There are two sorts of storms that roll across our lives, both painful, both hard, yet quite different.  

The first sort is a result of our Eden curse.  These storms break our hearts and force us to reevaluate our lives in their aftermath.  When they arrive, God cradles our broken hearts.  He doesn’t send these storms to teach us a lesson, his plan A looked so much different.

The second sort of storm is more minor, painful nonetheless, but more of a thunderstorm than an F5 tornado.  These storms roll in with some frequency, and often they come with a formative purpose, to stretch us, grow us up a bit.

It’s easy to let this sort of storm consume us, they are certainly painful and inconvenient.

I used to be an avid chaser of this type of storm, and when new each new drama system cropped up I’d fire off dozens of frantic text messages and allow it to completely occupy the forefront of my mind.

I allowed myself to be tossed around by these storms like the branch of a weeping willow, flicking this way and that, giving myself over the breezes.  Completely forgetting who I was and what I was connected to.

On top of this I’d track my storm count, count my emotional rainfall and consider myself a generally unlucky person.

But with every passing storm, I’m putting aside my storm chasing ways.  I just don’t want the drama anymore.  Now, when a new struggle or tough-love lesson floats onto the scene, rather than chase it, I face it head on.

I turn my face into it, breathe it deeply and weather it while I remind myself the truth that I possess as a child of Our Father.

I don’t want to fly and flap over the small storms anymore, I want to weather them with a God-sent sense of calm.  I want to stand firm in the storm with a deep sense of I belong to, and the knowledge that he works all things together for good.

These storms will blow away soon enough, having done the work they were sent to do.

They’ll bring fresh atmosphere and perspective as they wash away impurities and send out roots ever deeper into the dark soil which connects us to he who sustains us.

“God is gracious—it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God. God takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me. I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings. Soul, you’ve been rescued from death; Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears; And you, Foot, were kept from stumbling.” I’m striding in the presence of God, alive in the land of the living! I stayed faithful, though bedeviled, and despite a ton of bad luck.”

As I read these words I could feel God at work in my storm, working up something better than what I was losing at the moment.

How do you weather the small storms?  Do you chase or stand? 

  • Mark Allman (@Vaderalman)

    I have tried to learn not to chase a path from the storms. I have tried to embrace the storm during its rage and let it wash over me but not wash me away. I can keenly feel the pain and know as a child of God the pain will not destroy; but the pain needs to be felt; to be known; if I am to learn how one to handle it and two how to learn from it. I do not like the storms that buffet and I know there is no refuge from them; they will find me. By clinging to the source of calm I can weather them and hopefully grow and help others face their storms someday.

    • leannepenny

      I love everything about this comment, you’re absolutely right that we have to go through the pain to learn from it and come out the other side.