Torrential rain, accompanied by 70 mph winds, lightning and hail were what I encountered while traveling home by myself after midnight on Thursday, having just completed a 9 day tour.
As I found myself in the midst of the storm, I could not see the road or anything around me. Intermittant lightning lit up the sky for brief moments. I became thankful for those glimpses of light, during which I tried to get my bearings. Finally, I was able to exit the interstate and wait out the hail under the cover of a gas station canopy. I sat there watching the intense rain, driven by powerful winds and decided that it was not going to pass anytime soon. Living in the Midwest has taught me that sometimes a ‘front’ hangs over a particular area while other areas are uneffected. I ventured back onto the highway, hoping to drive out of the storm.
I kept my eyes straight ahead and prayed. I could not let myself get distracted or confused. I was half way home and needed to stay the course. An hour later, I made it home safely, giving thanks.
I thought of the 35 people that I had just spent 9 days with. They were an inspiring, upbeat group of people. Though I didn’t get to know each of their “stories,” I had heard enough to know that these folks had done the same thing I did. They had set their sights on the road ahead, stayed the course and made it through the storms.
After all, how does one cope with the loss of 3 of your 5 adult children? How does one walk through divorce or the death of a spouse and not get plummeted? What is it that encourages them to keep venturing out, despite the storms of health challenges, recent surgeries and battles with life-threatening illnesses?
They have learned how to navigate the storms. They have adjusted their attitudes, fortified their faith and gathered wisdom along the way. They have shouted a resounding YES to life… to learning new things, seeing new places and making new friends. They too have used the light available to them and taken shelter when needed. They have learned that traveling with others is not only safer, but enriches the journey. They have kept their focus, walked through the winds and the rains and in some cases, saw rainbows on the other end.
None of our lives are exempt from the storms. The key is how we navigate the road in the midst of them. I am grateful to a great group of traveling companions who showed patience and compassion throughout our time together and who so generously shared their joy for the journey.
Returning Home Safely With You,