Not the way I prefer being awakened.
It was that serene sleep. The sleep when you are slightly awake but are enjoying the act of simply resting. You know you will be getting up soon, but for the moment, just drift and relax. Then, off in the distance you hear the first unmistakable sound of the approaching storm. That slight echo of rumbling thunder and you hope it stays away.
Spoiler, it didn’t.
For a long time, it stayed in the distance. I waited, listening to the rumble that was just loud enough to hear and recognize for what it was. Then I heard Molly bark, or did I? I listened more closely and yes, she was barking. I got up and headed for this room, but the light was on. Thanks to the gap at the top of my son’s bedroom door, I saw his light on as well. I asked if he had let her out and he said yes, so she was barking at the approaching storm monster. I went back to bed and waited.
It didn’t take long before the winds were blowing hard. I watched the shadows dancing wildly on my bedroom window. I could hear various things hitting the roof. Acorns, small limbs, just heavy enough to be heard. Then the rain came. I got up again to go make sure the drain was clear just in case, and thankfully it was. Back in bed I listened to the storm’s pounding anger. Does that old saying of a thunderstorm bringing snow count now? I hope not, even as I have a source for heat and my son’s camper with generator should we lost power. Though I will be honest in that now that I no longer work and don’t have to drive back and forth, it isn’t as much of an issue.
Eventually the storm moved on. I’ll need to go out in a while and see what may or may not be on the roof of the house. For now though, the remaining clouds are being pushed away and the sun is fighting to come out and dry up after the much needed rains.
But that is the way of a storm isn’t it? At times they show up when least expected, sometimes giving forewarning they are coming as the storm this morning. I knew it was coming as I listened to the thunder. Though sometimes we don’t recognize the signs and the possibilities of what they bring. Such as Covid and my losing my job. But, it is important to know that we can be prepared, even when there are no signs, no threats, no warnings of storms. Without going to the so called prepper extreme. (Note that these are by no means all ways to be prepared.)
During the winter months keep an emergency bag in your vehicle. Inside have drinks, snacks, a blanket, a flashlight in the very least. Make sure your phone is charged every time you go out.
In your home, if you do not have an emergency generator, make sure you have nonperishable foods. Things easily prepared should the power go out. Battery operated lanterns or even solar powered, and batteries. Have plenty of water collected. Blankets and sweaters at the ready and hopefully something to do while passing the time until power is restored. Also in case a winter storm rolls in and leaves you home bound until it passes and roads are cleared.
During the summer when one of nature’s electric shows is produced, stay inside. If the storm is bad enough to take down trees and take out the power, those lanterns once again are handy to have. Weather band radios or apps on your phone that alert you to conditions are good to follow. Keeping up with the dangers that may or may not be produced.
Tornadoes can appear suddenly, or their potential can be seen in a bad thunderstorm. Hurricanes are watched as they form and intensify, even as their path may be difficult to determine for days. Hurricanes give you time to be ready. Boarding up windows, collecting supplies, packing and leaving the danger zone. Same with flash flooding, leave when danger is apparent. And please, do not drive through flooded roads.
Being aware and prepared for storms is important and can save lives. Then there are things such as so called natural disasters. Earthquakes that suddenly rock the ground under your feet. Yet even then, there are warnings if you know what to look for. I read something a friend had written recently about the things she was noticing and that an earthquake was coming. She was right. Something about traffic, animals, lighting..things that most people don’t even notice.
A volcano that has lay dormant for decades that suddenly erupts, sending smoke and ash skyward as the force plows down trees. The lava flowing downward destroying what ever is in its path.
We do not only face the storms of nature. As we journey, and life is a journey, we face many other storms and struggles. Yet, we can be prepared for those as well.
That saving for a rainy day is important. When I lost my job, I had a small amount saved up. I was also very frugal in the unemployment and those checks the government sent. I admit that it was somewhat easier for me since my son is grown and my bills are few. I also understand that there are those who are living paycheck to paycheck so saving is not possible.
A relationship may end. Be it a friendship, a falling out with a family member, a broken romance, all can be devastating. Many times, there are red flags that we ignore. I did that with the relationship before my marriage to my late husband. I paid the heavy price. Watch, pay attention and do not ignore the red flags. But, sometimes, things happen without that warning and we must adapt, adjust and accept. Can we really prepare for that? Yes. By understanding who we are, our strengths, our purpose, our quality of self. I don’t mean by being arrogant, but by not allowing anyone to make us feel less. By knowing our strength and going forward with those abilities and rebuilding our life. Even if it must be from the ground up.
There are the times when we must go through a period of grief. When we are separated from a loved one by death. We are left to find our way without them. Grief has no time limits. Grief can be its own monster and be difficult to battle. Though we can and do.
Eventually though, even this life will end. At times, life may end earlier than one would think. Be it due to illness, accident or intentionally by the hands of another. Even if we do all we can to protect that life. by staying healthy, by learning self defense, by installing all manner of alarms and cameras, our time will come. Once we reach an age of accountability, we can be prepared. Not meaning having insurance, preplans for funerals or wills though those are important. But for eternity.
There are so many things that happen in this life that cannot be explained or understood. What I do know, is that God loves us. He calls to us, invites us to come to Him. There is an eternity waiting that will be so far different than this life, so much better. I look out my windows to my backyard and see the beauty of the woods. I see the photos that others share online and am awestruck at the beauty. What is coming, is so much more beautiful. Even unseen, I know that words will never adequately express the glory of Heaven and the new Heaven that will come to the new Earth. The peace, the serenity, the love there, where no tears will ever fall. We can be prepared for that, by coming to God. By answering that call, by accepting the gifts of mercy, grace, forgiveness.
The sun is out now, the winds are blowing the remaining clouds away. The last of the raindrops clinging to the leaves glittering in the sunlight. There can be a beauty after nature’s storm, there is a greater beauty after life. If we are prepared.