“Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them?”

— Rose F. Kennedy

Have you ever huddled inside while a wild storm blew and felt the smallness of being unable to do anything to change its outcome?  As the windows rattle, beaten by the wind, and branches crack and fall from the trees, it can feel as though the end of the world might be very near.  Power lines fall; and although you sit behind protective walls, you might swear that the flame of the candle that burns to light the darkness dances in the wind as it cuts through even our best attempts at shelter.

We all have storms that blow through our lives.  Some are weather, and some are simply the pieces of life that challenge us and force us to step outside of our complacency and embrace change.  We learn about this sort of change as we watch the trees.  The winds howl and challenge them to bend with the storm.  Those that are most flexible lose a few leaves and twigs; those whose ability to bend and adapt sometimes find themselves broken, their branches lying strewn beneath them on the ground.

In a funny way, I like a good storm.  There is something exciting about the unbridled energy that defies our predictions of outcomes.  There is something inspirational in the realization that there are forces far greater than we are that exist in the world.  We can learn how to get through storms.  We can tie down the porch rocker, ready the candles, and sometimes even board the windows until the wind has passed.

Have you ever walked outside after a storm has passed and seen the way things have changed?  We gather the fallen branches and look at the trees that are forever changed by the pruning wind.  We survey the damage to property and make repairs.  We grieve the damage that has left our world suddenly different and unfamiliar.  The birds begin to sing, and our eyes follow their song to the fresh, clean green that shines from the grass.  We look once again at the shapes of the trees whose limbs now are firewood.  We take in their new appearance and begin to notice that their battle has left them strong and tall, perhaps with a scar or two to add character.

Like the birds, whose nature it is to sing when the storm has ended, we can learn to stand again when the storm is over.  We can cry over fallen limbs or we can celebrate the trees that still stand.  There is delight beyond the storm.  Sometimes, like the branches we gather, we simply need to pick it up and get on with living.