Last night was one of those nights—what I consider a dark night of the soul, when my hope seemed to have set with the sun and every thought became a murky shadow threatening to steal my sense of equilibrium. With sleep I thought I’d find some peace, but then the storm of my psyche took flight and became the storm that threatened to Dorothy our house away.
At one in the morning I paced the living room as if my worry weighted us all down, anchoring us together in this home of ours. The wind bent the trees and shook the house, making the blinds tremble and the chimney howl. I waited for the windows to crash in or the roof to blow away and finally woke my daughter and brought her into my room, convincing myself that it was for her own good and not mine. She tucked her stuffed animal, Wolfie, under her chest and went back to sleep only to rouse her tousled head moments later to declare, “I think it’s going away.” Then she distracted me with talk of old Tootsie Pop commercials.
After Sis fell off to sleep, and as the storm raged on, I sat down and typed my way through one of those rare moments when the literary becomes the literal and all things converge. Inner storm and outer storm facing off at 2 in the morning. As they battled it out, Spunk stumbled into my room, asking to be retucked, and instead I climbed into bed with him and listened as the storm lost its strength, and, like that, was gone. By the time I returned to my room, it was all over; unfortunately, it wasn’t forceful enough to carry my inner turmoil away.
Since reading The Art of Racing in the Rain I’ve thought a lot about the grace with which we weather life’s storms, and it's cultivated within me a desire to endure them well regardless of how they might, at times, cause my soul to tremble and my heart to howl. Because I would hate to surrender at the moment before the gale ceases and my spirit is simultaneously refined.
I believe there’s a reason for all of it, and as displeased as I sometimes am with life’s lessons, I don’t want to repel my divine curriculum simply because it isn’t pretty or entertaining or easy. And after tonight I realize that it’s not worry or concern that anchors me; that’s simply an anxious attempt to control what is uncontrollable. Faith and hope are my tie-downs—the belief that all storms cease, and regardless of their force or duration, there are still children to be tucked in and Tootsie Pops to be discussed. And for that I will always be grateful.