It's March in the heartland.
That means it's time for Oklahomans to burrow into the ground with our water, flashlight, and battery-powered radio. Park our vehicles in a garage or under the awning at Sonic. Gather our family so everyone is ready to take the situation seriously when that fifth tornado siren goes off. Check into social media every ten minutes to write funny posts so it doesn't sound like we're scared. Charge our phone battery so we can record video when the floods come and hail falls.
And go one more round with Mother Nature to see who wins.
Of all our standard severe weather practices, the most important one is that we never let a tornado take us by surprise.
Which means we live in vigilant fear for one season and constant dread the other three.
We don't actually. We're just aware that bad weather does come. It always comes. We won't make it through this season without it so being shocked when it arrives would seem...well...stupid.
Spring comes every year. And bad weather comes with it. Every. Year.
You cannot separate the two, just like you cannot separate life from problems. The former doesn't come without versions of the latter. Believing we can get through life without facing disappointment, difficulty, challenges, or struggles would seem...well...stupid.
But I do it anyway.
The only thing to fear is schizophrenia itself
I'm that person always warning others there are rumblings on the horizon. It's obnoxious. Trust me. But I can't seem to help myself. I see patterns in life my friends believe is a side effect from all those drugs I took in the 60s.
But I've been doing it forever.
My guess is it's leftover hypervigilance from a few traumatic experiences of my childhood. You don't get tossed off the roof of a burning house as a child and it not make an impression. Or get yanked out of a church building on an Easter morning while the floor is collapsing under your feet and not wonder if you're a marble and the planet is a Hungry, Hungry Hippo.
For years, my life was so exciting I didn't need an imagination.
Accepting that life can be an obstacle course has rarely been my challenge. For me, it's believing that life isn't only an obstacle course.
But if I can do it, anyone can.
Yes, we must face the harsh realities of life. When we don't, we become those people who sob on the front lawns of universities when we realize anything of value costs money.
Let's never be those people.
But acceptance doesn't mean obsession. Or fatalism. Even though the weather, our circumstances, life itself, often tries to convince us the struggle will never end. It does. It will. Just hold on.
Because, outside, the weather is going to do its best to convince us every day is nothing but another chance for the wind to draw blood. But that isn't the weather always and won't be the weather forever. As most Oklahomans know, not every breeze turns into a storm. Not every storm turns into a tornado. Not every tornado causes irreparable damage.
Eventually, the new norm changes into another new norm. The winds die down. The sky stops churning. The thunder rumbles off. And spring, each and every year, turns to summer.
So, while we wait for this tumultuous spring season to pass, whether that's the weather or our circumstances, I'll leave you with a blessing my grandfather often repeated that's been a comfort to me:
"May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace." Numbers 6:24-26And I'll add: May your storm shelter be fortified, roomy, and have wifi.