To the one who continually and gracefully encourages me to flourish, thank you.
This week, my partner and I went on a road trip from Johannesburg to Durban for a friend’s wedding. We love a good adventure so we decided to make the most of the trip by driving slow and making as many stops as we wanted to. On this particular day, it was a beautiful summer afternoon, perfect for a day out. We enjoyed our playlist of South African music (Nathi featuring heavily on that playlist), had some biltong and we made time to take pictures of the breathtaking views of the mountains. Four hours into our trip, the weather drastically changed. Lightning flashed across the sky. In five minutes, we went from a beautiful summer day into a dark and scary scene from the movie The Day after Tomorrow, completely unannounced.
It got so bad that we could barely see the cars in front of us. I panicked but I decided not to worsen the situation by voicing my fears. My guy stayed in control and completely calm. I admired his ability to remain peaceful and unmoved by the change of weather (one of many reasons I admire him). Me on the other hand, I was calm and well poised on the outside but I was completely freaking out inside. I wondered if we could’ve missed the storm if we (by ‘we’ I mean me) had not wasted so much time enjoying the scenery and talking to strangers as though they were our long-lost friends. I drove myself crazy with panic and accusations of why I had not checked the weather before leaving home. All the while, the heavy raindrops kept crashing into the windscreen, leaving a blurry picture of the traffic ahead of us.
I wanted to ask him to off-ramp and perhaps stop on the side of the road until the thunderstorm passes. As though he was reading my mind, he calmed my fears in one sentence, “Don’t worry baby, it’s only raining in this side of town, the sun is shining on the other side.”
What a wonderful perspective to have in a storm! What a good discipline it is to remember that the sun was indeed shining on the other side.
It was hardly 5 minutes later and the weather cleared again.
This experience humbled me. It made me think about how I react or respond to the storms of life. While I try to maintain a positive outlook on life, I must confess, I am not always consistent in doing so. Sometimes, my first reaction to a storm is fear. In those moments where I allow fear to rule over me, my fighting spirit is nowhere to be found, and I find myself paralyzed by the thoughts that the storm can kill me. I’m so overwhelmed by what I see and hear that I am oblivious to the fact that while I cannot stop the storm from coming, I can simply push through it.
I get so caught up in what is happening that I forget that the sun is shining on the other side. And that is the key thing that will keep our attitudes in check when storms come— remembering that there is life after the storm and the sun is shining on the other side. Because of my need to have all the facts [of when exactly the storm will be over], sometimes I allow myself to be bullied by a situation I am able to handle simply by silencing my fears. In that moment in the car, I realized that storms are to be viewed with an attitude of “this too shall pass.”
Another “aha moment” I had is that it is important to release oneself from all blame when the storms of life come. Sometimes we have a tendency to blame ourselves for things that happen, forgetting that storms come because they must teach us something. Storms come to water what needs to grow while destroying what no longer serves us. As long as we view storms with an eye of what we deserve or don’t deserve, we will never learn the lesson the storm came to teach.
Lastly, more often than not, I considered the fact that when the storm comes, it catches me off-guard and I have a tendency of wanting, no, needing to stop for a while and gather my thoughts. While that might sound wise, I must admit, my need to stop is usually motivated by fear and uncertainty. The most lethal thing about discouragement is that it is so loud that you forget that the sun is shining on the other side. And I learnt that stopping is not always a good idea because there are parts of the trip that generally rain a lot, so in essence, you might find yourself waiting for two hours for a storm to pass, not knowing that it would have been better to push through and conquer the storm in five minutes.
I want to encourage you to push through the storms of life without fear or blame, and remember the wise words said to me, “the sun is shining on the other side.”
Love and light,
Tweet Me: @Nono_Cele