I walked home tonight from the church around the corner, and I was blown away by the beauty of the evening. The sky was a jumbled pile of different shades of gray and all the bare-branched trees were bending creakily first one way and then the other in the wind. The old Victorian houses in my neighborhood were the only solid things, and all I could hear was the roar of the wind and the skittering of dry leaves across the ground. There is something magnificent in a stormy night like this, and I was happy both to be walking in the midst of it and to have a warm destination waiting for me.
My stormy walk made me think of two things. The first was how much I have missed being outdoors. John Muir, a famous naturalist, said, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” That is certainly true for me. Since I was a child, I’ve gone outdoors when I’m hurt, angry, sad, pensive, or exultant. Happily, it’s getting warmer outside, so I can start spending more time out there.
The second thing I thought of was an analogy, because that’s how my brain works. (Seriously, ask me to explain an abstract concept to you sometime.) What I’m going through right now, what any of you are going through right now, is a type of stormy night. It’s darker than usual, the wind is whipping things around, making them seem unfamiliar and unsettling, and I’m not always sure I can make it home before I get soaked. You know what, though? Storms come. When we were in Arizona for my father-in-law’s funeral, my niece said something very similar. We were talking about grief, and teasing Madison a little about her frequent crying, and she said, very simply, in explanation, “Tears come.” Well, so do life’s storms. You can’t fight them, but you can ride them out.
I’ve always loved the book A Wrinkle in Time since reading it as a little girl, and in it one of the witches says, after coming into a house through a raging storm, “Wild nights are my glory.” My young, melodramatic heart leaped in agreement when I read that phrase, and I still feel it resonate with me when I walk through powerful winds and heavy, expectant air. I decided tonight that I can make my life-storm a glory also. There is a beauty in those who deal with difficulty with grace and strength, and there is something compelling in people who try to serve others while in the middle of their own struggles. I want to be that type of person. I may never like kidney failure as much as I love stormy nights, but there is a destination waiting for me at the end of this trial, and if I do it right, the person I’ll be when I get there will be a lot closer to the person I want to become.
I’m going to be getting more blood work done this next week, so hopefully my anemia is under control and I will be able to stay off dialysis a little longer. Wish me luck!