Therapeutic yoga classes are a regular occurrence for me, whether I am teaching students or training therapists. I usually share inspirational readings or song when I teach, but last Monday’s lesson came packaged in a personal experience.
Sunday, August 2, I penned on my facebook profile, “shutting down the computers, here comes the rain….nothing like a good thunderstorm.” My son woke from his nap and so my husband, my son, and I went upstairs to the sun room to enjoy the view of the incoming storm. We love a rainy day as much as a sunny one (think of a beautifully dreary day with a little Miles Davis in the background and your hand wrapped around a cup of jasmine pearl green tea with local honey). My older son had awaken with the preliminary thunder, which he is petrified of, so he was sitting in my lap when it happened.
The most painfully loud, frying electrical sound I’ve ever heard, we could not peer out of the windows in our house, because of the hard rain against the screens, to see where the direct hit had been. Lightening, we knew it was, but it still took a minute (after our collective reflexive shriek) for the reality to register. We knew the proximity of the flash of light and deafening noise meant it was very very close. Too close.
I went downstairs to peer through the doors with windows to try and see what I could see, and that is when I saw the flood of water rushing down the hill next to our yard. After the storm had subsided, we surveyed the damage quickly and waited on the water company (whom we had phoned immediately) to show up and shut down the lines. Less than 10 minutes past before the water was shut down, but by then the place where our whole family had been standing had caved in, more than 6 feet deep into the ground.
Fortunately no one was hurt, and as this week passes we are still tallying the damage to the contents of our home. However, I see my story as one filled with gratitude.
You see, yesterday was the first day I had internet again. We no longer have tv or movies to watch, or music to listen to (what is most greatly missed by our family), or computers to distract us. The loss of material wealth has been quickly appreciated in our home. Our family has spent more family time together, and through this storm our deep sense of appreciation for each other has been reignited, as we are poignantly reminded of the blessings of our safety and for what we do have. And most importantly, my husband and I have most definitely spent less than time working (a much needed phenomenon).
Although we have more work loaded on our family in order to repair, fix, and replace what was damaged, my story if filled with immense gratitude. For every experience we have, good or bad, should cause us to lift up our heads to the sky and glean the beauty in it.
In a country that has a heavier workload than any other country, including Japan, sometimes it takes a lightening strike, a storm, an accident, an illness – to force us to slow down and appreciate the bounty of our blessings and the immense wealth we possess (which has nothing to do with our flatscreen tv’s, laptops, or iPods).
In our frail and attention deficit ridden country, sometimes (too often), to get our attention, it takes a direct hit.
The lesson in this is not to expect a direct hit, loss, or tragedy, but this: No matter that my family is digging out from a direct hit to our tangible wealth, I still love a good storm. For pain and pleasure are separable by only a thin, sometimes invisible line. Find the Good in both.
*photo by Dr. Steven Horsburgh