Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's a Storm Thing

I had a dream last night. One I don’t remember ever having before, at least not like this. I was at my parent’s house (where most of my dreams take place; their home is embedded deep in my memory bank). I was with 2 of my girls; I can’t remember if my husband was around or not, I think at one point in the dream he was. I remember standing at the back sliding glass door and looking out onto a vast plain – nothing in sight for miles – except the storm brewing off in the distance. The animals – an unruly lot with several cats, the dog, a chicken and an elephant(?) – were not cooperating when we would try to put them in their crates. Not the elephant of course; he just wanted in the house. One set of twisters had already engulfed the house once, ripping off one end. We were safe in an inner room. The storm died down, so we walked outside to let the animals roam. It started raining again, driving wind, and off in the distance here came 2 sets of 4 funnels twirling madly and kicking up dust everywhere! We shoved the cats and chicken in one cage, the dog in another and shuffled them into the house. Of course we couldn’t leave the elephant outside, so in he came too. I distinctly remember leading him by a leash into the house! The storms tore at the house and we huddled close together. I don’t remember much after that. I do know that we survived those terrible twisters.

I’m no dream catcher or interpreter and I don’t put a lot of stock in dreams. As a would-be writer I have a very vivid imagination and can carry on endless fictional conversations between fictional people. But I also try to be observant and use situations as catalysts for a topic to write about. After all, isn’t that what writers do?  And it didn’t take much thought for me to come to a conclusion about my dream. It may not be a metaphor or forecasting for something in my life, but I do believe the general lesson can be applied to anyone at any time, and it’s this: We all go through storms in life.

Some storms are mild, just a quiet, rainy evening where a little reflection is all that is needed to make things right and when you wake up in the morning, the sun is shining and the rain is forgotten. The storm is over. Others are more troublesome and require several days of hibernation because it’s just too nasty to be safe out. This storm takes longer to recover from. Debris litters the ground; water soaks the earth and makes plants and flowers droop with heaviness. It takes some time before the sun can warm things up again.

Then you have your hurricanes and twisters, like the ones in my dream. Everybody seeks shelter from these because the storm doesn’t just affect you. It affects all those around you, even the elephants and chickens. The part that makes these types of storms so monumental is that sometimes we saw the storm coming and did nothing to protect ourselves or our loved ones. That I believe was the “elephant in the room” in my dream. We know that a storm is brewing yet we do nothing to stop it if possible. We hide our faces, cover our heads and pretend it won’t happen. When the storm does hit, it rips off one side of our home and security, and yet all we do is shove cats and chickens into the same cage. We accomplish nothing. When the storm backs up and tries again, it’s then we realize we have to do something different. We address the elephant in the room. We separate the chickens and the cats and make things right again by covering our loved ones.  This is when we realize we survived the storm.

Are we better for it? Did we learn from it? One of my favorite quotes is from Disney’s “The Lion King.” Rafiki has hit Simba on the head with his stick. When Simba cries out in pain, Rafiki’s answer is, “Ah yes the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it.” I encourage you to learn from your storms. Some we cannot see coming and there is nothing we can do once they hit. It’s a tornado in the middle of the night. If we survive, it is by the grace of God but that does not mean He doesn’t want us to learn a lesson from it. Some we can see coming. It’s a hurricane and Doppler radar is telling us to take shelter. If we don’t, we had the opportunity and let it pass. Again, God can save us by His grace but He wants us to learn.

So learn from your storms. Learn from the experiences around you. Information is your most powerful weapon. Knowledge is key to everything. Listen to your heart and to your dreams. They are telling you something important.

Or sometimes they are saying you need an elephant and a pet chicken.

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