It happened so quickly, the swaying of the trees signaling yet another storm approaching seemingly out of nowhere.
Earlier, weather reports stated there was less than a 25% chance of rain, and so people everywhere headed outdoors to celebrate time with family and friends as events started happening all over town, a sign that pandemic fatigue and a readiness to be finished with COVID-19 had reached its limit.
And then, the rain came down in torrents with wind gusts shredding trees and leaving behind debris that served as a time stamp of the downpour that just made its presence known.
I happened to be at home at the time and stood watching the storm from my back door, holding my breath as I watched the large outdoor tent we had constructed for a recent event start to bend and sway. Within seconds, the wind tore off two of the supporting legs, leaving the others to bear the responsibility of holding down the fort, looking at times like that wild, flappy blow-up thing that is often placed outside of car dealerships to welcome you to come inside and take a look around.
Just when I thought the wind had slowed down or that the sideways rain had lessened, another gust would blow through more fiercely than before, and I watched as a rope tether started unraveling, allowing more pressure to build under the canvas canopy. Then, just as quickly as it approached, it was over, and I was able to reattach the legs, straighten everything out and secure everything once again.
As you can probably already guess, this whole event reminded me of the sudden loss of a loved one and how intense the pain and grieving is at moments. I thought about the constant bending, pulling, shifting and, even at times, breaking apart that occurs. And then I thought about the moments when we feel the sudden calm after the passing storm for the very first time.
Like that tent, we often lose pieces of ourselves when facing our storms or battles, but we also learn how to face adversity (remember that it takes tremendous strength to grieve) and grow from having weathered something unfamiliar and unexpected.
Many people share that grief alters their perspective on life and it changes them in a myriad of ways, but they also say they are often surprised at how much pain they were able to carry, some never expecting to be able to make it through the most difficult challenges life threw their way.
Undoubtedly, there are countless signs of healing after loss, and like the battered tent, as humans, we are made up of more strength and resolve than we ever thought possible.
In life, there will always be storms, some we can prepare for while others catch us unaware, but bottom line, we find ways to bend without breaking and we do what it takes to survive.
Jenny Filush-Glaze is a licensed counselor and owner of Serenity Community Counseling LLC. Contact her at email@example.com.