We were in paradise when the storm came. Swimming in crystal clear, turquoise water. Watching fish dance in their weightless wonderland. Turtles frolicking to and fro. The salty sea, a soothing salve for sun-kissed skin.
Our last day in a land surrounded by endless sea and sky, never wanting it to end. Even the clouds slowly gathering were stunning. Wanting more, ever more, my son, dear friend and I stayed near the shore to float and simply soak it all in, while my partner swam out to explore.
As we watched him join the boats bobbing out past the buoys, his head a marble floating out on the glistening waves, we heard a loud boom. Not wanting to concede the impending storm, we questioned it. Hesitating. Asking each other, “Was that really thunder? Do you think…? Maybe….”
Then, the second clap sounded. Even if we could have overlooked it, there was no ignoring the lightning that followed. Cutting brightly through the sky. Lighting it up with an ominous crack.
As much as we wanted our golden moment to continue, we couldn’t escape the storm.
Some days, the clouds roll in and the rain comes. Sometimes, you have to get out of the water before it breaks you. To paraphrase a loved one suffering an incomprehensible tragedy, “We’ve all had loss but, some days, something happens that just brings you to your knees.”
The other day, I was talking with someone about the value in keeping things light. I am very intentional about trying to hold things loosely and seeking the silver linings, so I can appreciate the good place from whence this idea comes. But, as I said then, the problem I see is that things are not always light. Sometimes it’s heavy. Sometimes, it’s dark. And dark can be beautiful too. Transcendent, even. But, f*cking hard. And, the opposite of light. We can’t just wish that away.
Can we even have light without dark? Day and night. Winter and summer. Yin and yang. Each finds its meaning in its opposite.
Tides rise and fall. Seasons change. We live. We die. We suffer. Without rhyme or reason, tragedy strikes. The electric downpour is a fundamental part of nature. And I feel so powerless in the face of it.
I’ve come to learn I don’t know much. Even less in these moments of torrent. The only things I know to do when a storm comes are: Seek safe shelter. Hold on to what is dear. Be there for each other. Recognize your limits and focus on your needs. Even when the shoulds are loud. Look for beauty and meaning. Even in the many shades of darkness. Remember the sun. And bask in every moment of it when it shines again.