Thursday, September 8, 2011

Older Dog Wisdom: Tux 30 - Storms of Our Lives

A recent storm came upon us quickly. It seemed as if one minute the sun was shining and the next it was so dark it could have easily been twenty minutes after the sun set. Then the winds came up whipping the tree branches back and forth bending saplings nearly to the breaking point. Next, the skies opened up and deluged us with rain and small hail. All of this could be a tornado. I quickly turned on the television and, as quickly, lost service. Next, I pulled out my iPhone and started opening weather apps. 
The national weather apps were useless because their information was a half-hour old, which is usually not a problem, but it becomes a problem when dealing with a tornado that can change direction in a nanosecond. Closing those apps, I opened first one and then another and yet another of the apps put out by the local television stations. Not only was their information nearly as old as the national apps had been, but their sites are cover in advertisements making it hard to find the information I was so desperately seeking. I had no idea whether a tornado, like the F4 tornado that hit Joplin, MO and left over 100 people dead (making it the deadliest tornado in US history) and 1100 injured, was coming at me or this was only a severe thunderstorm.
While I was trying to find information about the weather, the thunder arrived. Both Tux and his sister, Grace, are afraid of thunder. It only took seconds for them to seek comfort in my lap. Grace, in particular, was affected by the noise. She shivered, her eyes got very big, and she hid her head between the chair and me. Tux, on the other hand, was putting on a brave face, but I noticed that he cringed whenever a clap came too close to the house.
As fast as the storm came upon us, it started moving away. It didn’t make it any less dangerous or any less scary, though. The rain continued for another hour or so, and the wind continued to blow. Two hours later the sun was out again. We had weathered yet another storm.
Lesson Learned
We all have storms in our lives. Relationships end, jobs are lost, loved ones pass away. Those storms can be devastating, they can be life changing, and they can be demoralizing. It is, however, how we react to them that is important. If we arise from the devastation, learn about ourselves from them, and then move on, we have grown and gotten stronger.

Tux has learned this lesson. He was scared of the noise, of my desperation to find out whether our lives were in danger, and of his usually brave sister's reaction to the storm. His reaction in the face of the storm was to whistle in the dark as it were. 

The storm passed and I learned from Tux that sometimes we all need to put on a brave face and whistle in the face of danger.

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