The jangling of an alarm woke me. Instead of a light-infused spring dawn peeping through the bedroom windows, a dark, foreboding quiet surrounded our mobile home. I had the day off from work, but Arnie, my new husband needed to get up. I shook him and gently pushed him out of bed.
Being the good little new wife, I got up with Arnie and made him a scrambled egg breakfast. It didn’t matter if he appreciated my efforts or not, I was filled with self-satisfaction. The minute he stepped out of the house, I trotted back to bed.
Far away thunder rumbled. Rain pelted our metal mobile home roof. I stretched, yawned and snuggled under the covers with a smile. I loved to lay in bed listening to thunder storms. An occasional flash of lightning and closer rumbles of thunder entertained me for the rest of the morning.
My entire family always enjoyed lounging around on rainy, Sunday summer afternoons, hay-gathering days interrupted by unexpected thunder storms and heat-breaking July night storms. If the storms became too wild, we prayed for our safety. After the boisterous part passed, we laid back to enjoy the show with redoubled pleasure.
One rainy afternoon while at work, when my children were growing up, I was assisting an eighty-eight-year-old patient. I mentioned to her that storms frightened my children, while I enjoyed watching the flashes of lightning and listening to the rumbles of thunder.
With a frown and shiver, the gray-haired woman exclaimed, “Storms frighten me. I hate them!”
Surprised, I questioned, “What’s happened to you to make you feel that way?
Turning to look at me, she explained, “Lightning stuck my home when I was nine years old. It burned to the ground. Ever since, storms terrify me!”
In her eyes, I could see a reflection of a frightened nine-year-old child escaping a burning house and watching everything she thought was safe, burn to ashes. I sympathized, “Oh, I am so sorry you that happened to you! You truly have a good reason for not liking storms!”
I do not like all storms. When they are accompanied with wind and display violent bolts of lightning and ear-splitting crashes of thunder, I feel frightened. As a child, I remember Mom sprinkling holy water into the wind of a violent approaching storm that threatened our home and crops. As an adult, I remember clinging to Arnie for safety during an early morning summer storm.
Apparently violent storms didn’t scare my brother, Billy. Shortly after he retired from farming, due to ill health, he built a cabin in the woodlot on his farm with a southern exposure amid the tree-line. Standing in his cabin’s front door, provided an amazing view of the surrounding swells of farmland.
One night when Billy chose to spend the night in his cabin, a tremendous storm rolled though Central Wisconsin. Great wind accompanied unprecedented bolts of lightning and deafening crashes of thunder. Trees fell and campers in local parks were injured.
The next day I asked him about his experience. He said, “I stood in the cabin’s doorway and watched the entire storm.”
I exclaimed, “Weren’t you scared?”
Flashing a big smile, he responded, “No! It was beautiful. It was exciting!”
Doubtful about how wonderful the experience really was, I wondered if the danger added to the thrill of the moment.
For the rest of Billy’s life, all I had to do to get him to smile, was ask, “Do you remember that big storm the night you stayed in the cabin?”
The far-away look in his eyes and his nostalgic smile told me he enjoyed reliving the excitement, the beauty and the awe.