|Photo by Pit Hermann|
Like the other night. When I attempted to be a "super awesome" and "super fun" mom in the midst of my children's mid-summer vacation blahs. (Side note: If you say to me, "I'm bored," I WILL give you chores.) The kids were in a slump and needed something to do (besides call each other "wingnuts") and I needed something quick, fun, and fairly effortless to entice them with.
So I dangled the offer of fast food in front of their adorable little faces and said, "Let's have a picnic! We can sit by the tree in our front yard!" Since chicken nuggets were involved, they were completely on board.
I stretched an old quilt across the grass and kicked off my shoes. Each child plopped down on a corner of the patchwork rectangle, and I began distributing white sacks of warm, fried goodness. We had just gotten the bottles of chocolate milk and the packets of barbecue sauce open when I saw it: A huge gust of wind--manifesting itself in a ball of dust--making it's way across the empty lots and the piles of dirt across the street. (Another side note: I live in a construction zone that sort of resembles what a Home Depot would look like if a tornado hit it and then left nothing but "handyman debris" in it's aftermath.)
That cloud of dirt was twirling and swirling, kicking up weeds and plastic bags and other remnants of garbage from the day's home-building responsibilities. It was headed for us and it looked like trouble. I knew it was going to be bad.
Just like that the blanket started flapping like a wild bird in a cage and white fast food sacks shot into the air! Lilly sprang to her feet with lightening-quick speed and bolted for the front door! Barbecue sauce packets went flying, leaving sticky brown spots all over the blanket and grass. Bridget shrieked and screamed! Cam bawled and bounced up and down on his toes in a state of panic! Fries and napkins and chocolate milk bottles blew away! And in the midst of all the bedlam, I was the one darting here and there and to and fro, trying to collect our garbage and belongs. I frantically attempted to grab the blanket, the food, and my children's hands, all while screaming, "EVERYONE CALM DOWN! It's only wind! IT IS ONLY WIND!"
My poor kiddos thought it was the end of the world!
Here's what I'm learning, my friends: Wind happens. (Or life happens or crap happens...or however you want to say it!) The proverbial kind. The kind that shows up as hardships and seemingly unending heartaches, in loneliness and darkened despair. The kind that makes you feel lost and alone when you move to a new neighborhood and long for the familiar. The kind that makes you lose your hair in small piles on the bathroom floor. (Doctor #2: It's stress related. Me: *face palm*) The kind that propels you into a whirlwind of anxiety. The kind that knocks you off your feet and makes you wonder if God can see you through the clouds. The kind that never, ever seems to stop. It's ugly, it's painful, and it blows.
But it does stop. Eventually.
What happened the day after the "fast-food-picnic-catastrophe?" Stillness.
The sun came out, the sky was blue, and all was calm and peaceful. Because that's the nature of adversity, the important part we so frequently forget when we're entangled in the midst of it: It leaves. And with its departure you find you have become more whole, more grateful, more resilient. Stronger. Better.
It may bend you, dear friends, but it will never break you.