March 16, 2016 – The Storm before the Calm

It’s always the other way around right?  “The calm before the storm?”

Yeah, right.  That’s not life, you don’t notice the calm before the storm because the storm is never forecasted or predicted in some crystal ball of an almanac.  Sometimes Life’s storms surge, out of nowhere, creating an anxiety get indoors and batten down the hatches.  I’m in that kind of storm right now.

It’s been a rainy month…well metaphorically.  Little showers here and there, some summer storms, big but brief, but last night the storm raging outside the theater walls echoed the storm I was about to go through.

I could get into so many side stories and tangents but the really storm this week is referred to in the theater world as hell week.  Now, there is another “hell week” which is the first part of training for Navy SEALs.  Compartively, my hell week is chocolate covered peanuts to that of a hopeful SEAL’s.

This week is a week in which there is a start time on the calendar, but no end time.  Everyone is feeling the high stakes of getting everything right in only a few days.  Lights, sets, props, costumes and the ever ego-centric actors.  I’m one of the latter, though, I try as hard as I can not to be self-centered.

We had wrapped up rehearsal as the director announced, “Okay, everybody, try to get out of here as soon as possible.  There’s a severe thunderstorm warning and it looks nasty on the radar.”

Being indomitable actors, we still meandered our way down the aisles engaging in the chit chat of the evening.

“I think it’s getting there”

“Yeah, if I could just get my lines down.”

“Oh, you’re getting better, just make sure you keep working them at home.”

“We could cut down some of the pauses.”

“Or the entrances…”

“Or we could just skip to final two scenes”

A ripple of laughter coursed through the group as a small rumble of thunder battered the cinder-block walls.

“What time is it?”

“Ten.”

“Not so bad for a first night.”

“Yeah, if I could just convince my guys to sleep past 5…”

As we walked up to the tinted glass of the doors that lead to the outside world, I watched as the sheets of rain were highlighted by the orange rays of the parking light lamp, which seemed to leech the color from the world it touched.  We entered the frenzy of wind outside and welcomed the fresh air blowing our hair and seeping through the fibers of our clothes, reminding the skin beneath that we were alive and well.  As we uttered our good-byes, nice-jobs and our stay-safes, we all headed to our own shelters from the storm.

I creeped into the back door of the house at once wanting and fearing that my noise would wake my boys.  But, oh, how I wanted to wake them.  I hoped that a crack of thunder would grant me the excuse to squeeze their shoulders and to comfort them that this would also pass.  I snuck into their room, kissed their oh-so-peaceful foreheads and tiptoed (as best I could) to my bedroom. Minutes later, a loud and vibrating quake of thunder shook the house and I dashed, like a child on Christmas day, to the doors of my sleeping children.  I waited, barely breathing, hoping they would wake.

It won’t last long, I would have told them.  These storms always pass.  Thunder and lightning and rain can be frightening and even frustrating, but they always move on.  They always clear.  And, boys, the more powerful they are, the more beautiful the world looks after.  

This storm will pass.  The calm will come. No matter the type of storm, its ferocity, its strength, or duration, it always comes.

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