I remember being 9 years old and being wakened up in the middle of the night by a thunderstorm. My sisters and I must have shown fear because I recall my dad getting us up out of bed, leading us to the window and asking us to watch the storm roll in. Through the safety of our home and our parents’ presence the storm didn’t seem so angry.
As we got older and a storm would roll in we’d say things like “Sounds like God is moving furniture around” or “God and the angels are bowling, again.” This was the time we started sitting on the front porch of our house and watching storms from outside. It was a good time to be real and honest with whomever you were lucky enough to be watching the storm with; kinda like sitting beside a campfire at night – it just brings out the “real” person.
Move ahead to the next generation. I remember taking my own two little ones by the hand, having them look out the window at the storm and telling them there was nothing to fear. As they got older and a thunderstorm would rumble through, we would grab a blanket, hunker down under it on the wicker love seat on the front porch and watch the storm roll in. We’d scream when lightning hit too close and then laugh as we realized we were safe.
Our dog hates thunderstorms. He hides under our bed until they’re over. Today he’s being brave by running outside and barking at the thunder. I think it’s because he knows I’m out outside watching the storm come in. My immigrant students also hate thunderstorms. I try and get them to look out the windows and enjoy the lightning and the sound of the thunder. They shy away and ask me to pull the blinds down.
Now that we’re empty nesters I watch the storms by myself. Kinda makes me sad but I like it when my son says he watched a storm roll in one night or my daughter says she made her boyfriend watch a storm under a blanket. I have no doubt that someday I will be watching thunderstorms with my grandkids and retelling this same story to them.
Next time a storm rolls in, walk away from the tv or get out of bed and look outside at the storm. It won’t hurt you. It might actually do your soul some good.