Raise your hand if you remember the big ice storm in ‘07. Now raise your hand if you actually kind of enjoyed it.
Am I the only one with my hand still in the air?
Here’s the thing. Those two and a half weeks were rough, I’ll give you that. I mean, I was in seventh grade at the time and didn’t know there was a whole other world out there that existed without Hannah Montana, a CD player, microwaved popcorn, MySpace, and my hair straightener.
If I close my eyes real hard I can still picture, hear, and feel everything. The icicles. The yard that looked as if it was plastered and painted with white-out. The bitter cold. The way my breath clouded up and floated away to the sky forever. The slow droning of the occasional car that was brave enough to trek the icy side roads and 65 Highway. The darkness, except for a mere flame from that apple-cinnamon candle from Dollar General that helped us navigate our way around the house and lit the way for the longest Monopoly game ever played in history, to my knowledge. The ticking of the propane heater. The awful smell of baby wipes that we had to use for “sponge baths” because there was no running water. The snap, crackle, and pop of the maple tree in the front yard as its once-beautiful branches came crashing down to the frozen earth.
It was an experience like none other, for sure. The Ultimate Primitive Challenge, 2007 Edition.
But as strange as it sounds, those were some of the most memorable days I’ve had so far in this life. For two and a half weeks straight I lived a life that was spent conversing face to face with my family, my friend, and her family that stayed with us instead of talking on the phone. Of playing board games and card games instead of updating my Facebook status. Of building a virtual campground with blanket tents in our living room instead of watching the Disney Channel. Of cooking every meal on a tiny open flame propane grill instead of a microwave. Of using the front porch as a refrigerator. Of shaving my legs and brushing my teeth with the leftovers of a half empty water bottle and surprisingly being totally okay with it. (And missing school all those days was a nice side bonus, as well).
The point is, that was hands-down the worst storm I’ve ever experienced in my lifetime – yet it turned out to yield one of the greatest blessings, memories, and life-lessons.
And I wonder – as I’m sitting here writing this blog ten years later at the kitchen table looking out the window as another ice storm is brewing – if God is trying to teach me something even deeper about “loving the storm”.
Friend, I don’t know what struggles and storms you are battling in your own life, and I can assure you that I have had plenty of my own. (That’s a blog for another time). But I do know this – if you truly, truly listen and adjust your perspective a little, you will find grace and wisdom to get you through it. You will find blessings. You will find strength and peace. You will find creativity. You will find beauty.
You will find appreciation for the things that really matter most and learn what it means to simplify.
So don’t be afraid. Don’t stress. Don’t ask God why this is happening to you or throw your hands up in despair. Just have faith. Listen. Trust Him. Be brave.
And learn to love the storm.