Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Storm Before the Calm

California has been a soggy, rain-soaked mess lately.  We have experienced everything from pounding rain to hail stones the size of marbles to tornadoes!  Yes, tornadoes.(Look Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.)  We are experiencing an El Nino year, I am told, which tends to occur around once every five years.  El Nino translates to mean "the boy" which is a reference to The Christ Child.  Typically, El Nino years begin in December around Christmas which is why this weather pattern came to be named after Christ.  Along with the wild weather, there tends to be a more abundant number of fish which is why the fisherman began referring to this weather pattern as El Nino.  With the difficult weather, comes the "gift" of extra fish stocks.

Down at the beach, where I spend over fifty percent of my time now, the roar of Mother Nature hits even harder.  The many moods of nature gush forth in the waves of the ocean.  The sunsets are more vibrant, but so are the storms that blow through.  If it is breezy inland, the winds at the beach clamor in with a force that knocks over our patio furniture and pelts the windows of our home with a shear curtain of fury.  This is life on the edge of a bluff.
Watching the storms from my bedroom window can be both a mesmerizing and frightening experience. For living on the bluffs of the beach can leave us extremely vulnerable to the forces of Mother Nature.  Upon an angry whim, it is possible to lose a portion of our cliffside.  The waves come fast and furious without regard to that which is manmade.  We understand that we leave ourselves open to the intensity of nature, yet we would not have it any other way.  The storms can leave me feeling vulnerable, but they also leave me with a sense of ethereal safety which can cause me to lower my head in a humility that is unlike anything else.  I am humbled and awed by the forces of that which I can and cannot see.  And I accept my place in the pathway of that which occurs around me.  I trust.  I must trust.
I am going through a stormy period of life right now.  It began almost two years ago, when my brother suddenly died at the all too young age of forty-one.  He was a strong and powerful soul who seemed to be able to take charge of a room just by walking into it.  He was funny and mischievous.  He was an attorney who began his professional life as a public defender.  His heart was in the right place.  He felt the need to defend individuals who couldn't afford to defend themselves.  His desire was to fortify the wrongly accused.  He ended up with the sad and frustrating knowledge that the "wrongly accused" were most typically liars and re-offenders, but that only made him want to fight for the innocent more.  He was considering going back to public defending shortly before his death.  He was a father, a husband and a loving uncle to my daughters.  He was a brother to my husband.  He was a son to my parents.(Although admittedly, not always a very good one.)   He was my brother.  It breaks my heart to think that I must live the rest of my life without him to turn to.  The tides in my life took a vicious turn when he passed away.  And there is a little bit of sadness, everyday, that bubbles just below the surface of my heart.
I expected to soar through my life in the company of my husband and our beautiful angel daughters.  But I also expected that my younger brother would always be there, raising his children, living his life and sharing more history with me.  Being "an only child" is my new normal and one that has not been very easy to get used to.  It is a very, very strange feeling.
This weather has exasperated my illness to the point of creating a cycle of nonstop pain.  Even the strongest of medications can only reduce the constant throbbing to a dull, steady ache.  And yet, I am not sure which storm has been more detrimental to my health.  The storms that brews outside, or the ones that have been created by this lawsuit that I have been forced to file in order to keep my nieces, my brother's children, in my life.  My brother's wife is furious at me.  That is the word that she has used with her attorney, as well as with the court appointed mediator whom she refused to enter the room to mediate with.  Furious.  Fury.  Destructive rage bordering on madness.  And all that I have asked to do for almost two years now, is to love her children.  Something that I have done for eleven-plus years.  Something that included her up until she began refusing us access to the children.  Now, we want visitation without her present.  She has created too much pain for her children, for us, and now, for my mother.  I am not sure whether or not the Judge will grant this, but I am praying.  I am doing everything I can to weather the storm.  I am battening down the hatches.(cue Wizard of Oz witch music)  And I am trusting.  Lord knows, I am trusting.
Even during an El Nino year, the sun breaks through the clouds most of the time, and such is the pattern of my life.  I am a naturally happy person.  I look for the breaks in the clouds.  I count my blessings, appreciate the small stuff, etc., etc., etc.  But I am also a realist.  I understand human nature and Mother Nature, even though I have a healthy fear of both.  And I know that even in an El Nino year, there is a very bright side.  Extra fish stocks for the fisherman.  A gift that comes with the storms.
So although I am now "an only child" on this journey called life, I am not alone.  I will not be pulled down by the crashing waves or even the murkiest of waters.  I will swim for my life.  I will take shelter in my husband, my daughters, my father, my pets, my friends.  I will stay afloat and eventually, I will learn how to soar above it all.  Because I know that when I am thrown a life-preserver from wherever it comes, that I will grab hold of it.  And because I trust that there will always be somebody there to throw me one whenever I need it, I can stay afloat.  Even in the most furious of storms...


Mickey (Michel) Johnson said...

...i am without words. my heart aches for you...know that. also know that i am on my knees petitioning at heavens gate in your behalf my friend. my love, mickey

Anonymous said...

hi i'm coming out of lurker mode to say i love reading about your angel daughters and your wise thoughts that you make us think about.

Debra W said...

Penney, thank you so much. I am so glad that you came out to say hello and I really hope that you will do so again! Just knowing that you are out there is a comfort to me. Your kind words humble me.

And Mickey, dear heart. I dropped you an email, but you melt my heart with your kind spirit. You truly do.

Hugs and Love,

Laura Hegfield said...

Those internal storms, the ones instigated by external forces are so powerful...maybe more so than what is happening on the outside. And so, to protect your fragile body it is essential to make time/space to drop the "story" (I don't mean give up the fight!)...but to find some time every day...to not engage in the thoughts, the undertow...just be with the waves, with your breath...make time to relax, to meditate and then let the "story" creep back in occasionally as needed to take care of business with your sister in law. YOUR health is essential. If you are stressed emotionally it just beats the hell out of your body.

Sending you much love and peace in the midst of this storm,


Anonymous said...

I know how difficult it is to lose a loved one. I am so sorry for your loss, and I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Sunshine said...

wow. my hearts stopped for a moment to read that..You are always in my prayer. Take care of yourself..

Ness said...

I have been an only child all my life and hated it. I can't even fathom your pain of having a sibling and then losing him. My heart to yours. As far as the nieces, we are going through similar horrors with Carter and Cade, Kathy's 2 great nephews that have been jerked from us. I claim the Serenity Prayer nearly hourly for my physical and mental pain. It helps. Love you.

PrairieWalker said...

Your beautiful pictures of nature are the reflection of a deeply spiritual person. May you draw upon that to find peace and rest. You have my heartfelt compassion and prayers.

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