More Than Just The Weather …

I am now an official “spotter”.  No, I will NOT be standing by to help you bench press 350 lbs.  No, I have NOT signed on as a painter at a domino factory.  I attended a training last evening put on by the National Weather Service to become a “Skywarn Spotter” … someone trained to “spot” and report tornadoes, funnel clouds, thunderstorm wind damage, hail and persistent heavy rain/flooding.  This is something I have wanted to do for awhile now.  I remember, as a child, being quite terrified whenever the ominous tornado sirens went off in our village.  Shortly thereafter I could often be found sitting on “the throne” clutching my old teddy bear ‘Toby’.  Not unusual, as the “fear” part of our brain is ‘hotwired’ to our GI tract … as evidenced by many a ‘nervous Nellie’ public speaker who can also be found in the “throne room” prior to a speaking engagement.  On many of these occasions, my dad, whom I adored, would speak very gruffly and sternly to me about what he thought was an irrational fear and over-reaction.  He would say something to the tune of “Is you being afraid of a tornado going to change anything?  Will that help in any way?”  This grown-up talk SORT OF helped my little girl self to put things into perspective ….sort of.  What it DEFINITELY taught me was to “stuff” those fears and not express them around him anymore.  They remained and over the years, despite my fear, I actually also became rather fascinated with tornadoes. Kind of like people who love to watch car racing at break-neck speeds……most will not admit it but on one hand they are hoping for nothing but the very best for each racer while, on the other hand, they are hoping there will be a big crash of some kind and when there is they fear for the driver’s well-being and yet glue their eyes to the scene with utter fascination! However, don’t get me wrong, I would NEVER be inclined to become a “storm chaser”, as I am usually the first one packing up emergency gear and heading to the basement whenever Betsy Kling starts pulling up the doppler radar and “talks tornadoes”.  In fact, I’m sure my daughter would love to regale you with stories of her youth when I would speedily usher the three of us into the basement and insist upon everyone donning a hard plastic laundry basket over each of our heads to protect from potential flying debris.  Yes…you heard me…. a laundry basket on our heads… as we sat in the basement clutching our pets and, in my case all my “important information”, aka my purse….and they went along with it …my daughter and husband both.  Bet I could get YOU to “drink the Koolaid” too!!!  🙂 Just KIDDING … don’t get your knickers in a twist now!!  I digress …

Anyway, I learned a lot last night and am actually feeling inspired to expand upon what I learned by looking at the whole science of thunderstorms a little deeper.  I find myself also entertaining the idea of becoming a ham radio operator, which would mesh nicely with this whole ‘spotter’ thing. As ‘they’ say, knowledge is power … and power can help overcome fear. A feeling of empowerment can also give you a renewed ‘sense of purpose’.  That particular line item seems to be popping up on my radar screen a lot lately.  I told someone the other day that I kind of feel like I’m just “floundering” … not really 100% sure who I am anymore and where I’m going or what I’m supposed to do from this point forward.  When I got married back in 1987 and had my daughter, raising her to be the best person she could be became my focus and “purpose” in life.  Fast forward 30 years.  She’s married and on her own …and I am now “unmarried” and on my own again too.  So now what?  I’ve found myself asking God this very question during my early morning devotions every day.  What is my purpose now?  What is the point?  I love the famous analogy of comparing our lives and the events therein to a beautifully woven tapestry.  We usually only see the “underside” … multicolored threads (i.e. events, relationships, encounters, etc.) that appear messy and random in their placement on the tapestry.  Once in awhile God allows us a little ‘sneak peek’ at just a portion of the topside of the tapestry.  Those are the “aha!” moments when it dawns on us why God allowed a certain event to take place or allowed our life to intersect someone elses’.  It doesn’t happen often and usually not until a lengthy bit of time after the fact, but if we become mindful of looking at things from that perspective and ask Him for discernment, those glimpses are there.  No one, however, sees the top of the finished tapestry with all of those seemingly random threads woven into a beautiful pattern, unique to each one of us, until we meet our precious Lord in Heaven where he will lovingly explain, to our amazement, the reason for each person, event, hardship, and tear.  We will undoubtedly nod in awe and understanding … those who are headed in that “northerly direction”, that is.

So, it seems this “spotter” business really IS about ‘more than just the weather ‘for me.  I left feeling a tad more sense of purpose perhaps … like I found a piece of the jigsaw puzzle that got lost in the couch cushions.  Not the last or most important piece, but still a piece that contributes to the whole picture.  Something the “new me” is interested in and will enjoy learning about.  So, no, you probably won’t see me on Mt. Jeez staring down an approaching storm in order to spot a tornado but chances are good I will at least be out in my yard scanning the skies … minus my old buddy Mr. Laundry Basket.


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