If there is one thing I know for sure, life is not predictable. From the time we enter this world and take out first breaths, we set off on a journey that is somewhat out of our control. We can certainly control our choices and the way we choose to conduct our lives. However, there are always unknowns, surprises and twists and storms that we cannot foresee or control.
Some of those surprises might be good. Maybe you find yourself with a large inheritance, find the love of your life or pick those lucky lotto numbers. These fortuitous paths buoy our spirits, gladden our hearts and lighten our steps. More often than not, however, those twists take us into downpours of anxiety, grief, heartache and devastation.
These difficult storms come in many different forms; divorce, illness, financial difficulties, loss of a loved one and a thousand other hurdles. No matter who you are, where you are from, what you believe, what your income is, what your skin color is, or what your religion is…, these storms WILL come. How do you handle these tempests that you face? Often, I know it depends on the duration and severity of the storm. Do you get anxious? Do you get angry? Do you blame others for the troubles that blow in and out of your life? Too many times I have seen friends and loved ones get bogged down in the mud created by these storms. They walk around with anxiety, grief, and clouds of depression always swirling around them. While most of these troubles may be out of our control and the clouds may pursue us relentlessly, we do not have to let them define us. We CAN control how we respond to those cloudy times. Yes, I know it sounds like I am over simplifying. I also know firsthand that sometimes those storms are so intense and rage for so long that it seems nothing can overcome them.
Twenty years ago, God blessed me with an amazing best friend. She was quiet like me, reserved like me and our spouses were friends, so we became remarkably close. We were young married couples and when I told my friend that I was expecting a baby, she was so excited for me. She was right there for me throughout my pregnancy and celebrated with us when that sweet baby boy arrived. At this point, our friends decided they too were ready to start a family. We were all on a trip together when they announced that they were expecting. I remember seeing the joy, the light in her eyes as she shared her news. But then the storm clouds moved in as she lost that precious baby. And those clouds became full blown storms as she lost another and a roaring tempest as she lost another and another. I watched my beautiful friend shoulder this grief for years. She pressed on grieving for each lost soul but bravely smiling through her pain. At the time I did not understand how she could smile. I did not understand how she could keep going never knowing if she would ever cradle a sweet baby of her own. My friend had something that we all need to make it through the storms of life. She had a shelter that I had yet to find. She had faith that God, the true Master of the wind would see her safely through that storm. And He did. She now has an amazingly beautiful, graceful and talented daughter that I know she is thankful for every day.
I know that seems like a simple solution…too simple…too easy to say. Especially at this particular time in history. This year has brought unprecedented troubles and storms to America, Louisiana and our very own Union Parish community. COVID-19 has shut down our country, small businesses are suffering and dying, people are struggling financially and mentally, children are being affected in ways we do not even comprehend and on top of that, a real physical storm by the name of Laura has devastated our state and community. It seems almost too much to bear. The storms are raging too fiercely. Do we give up? NO! I have seen the people of Louisiana and Union Parish pull together through many storms. We will survive 2020 as well. However, there is a difference in surviving to get through and surviving to thrive. I want us all to thrive. I want you and me and all our neighbors, friends and family to more than survive. I want us all to push through knowing that we will be better than ever before. And we will. How do I know? Because I too now know the Master of the wind. He is the maker of the rain. He can calm the storms and make the sun shine again. I pray you know the Master of the wind.
Charlette Madden is a Mother of 2, a Louisiana Tech graduate and serves as Editor and Advertising Director for The Gazette. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org