Monday, November 14, 2011


As I think about what “storm” means I keep hearing Stevie Nicks in my head. “I have always been a storm,” she says. And I do believe that she was speaking truth in that song – she has always been a storm. Well, as I once said about myself in a poem, “I am not a storm or an ocean or even a calm sky. I am a catfish pond, murky and sustaining. And that’s all you really need to know.”

What does that even mean? And what does it have to do with gratitude? Here’s what I think.

While I’m predisposed to be dramatic in the telling of events, my life really isn’t all that dramatic. And I like it that way – only stirring gentle winds every now & then to keep things interesting. (From Dr. M’s perspective these winds might not actually be that gentle, but that’s his tale to tell).

But that doesn’t mean that storms haven’t come our way. We’ve had the heartbreak of losing our mothers. The disappointment of jobs that fell through. The real life storm that blew the roof off of our townhouse in 1997.

Common wisdom states that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Well, I don’t really know how true that is. It certainly rips off those rose colored glasses that we try to cling to. But I do know this: going through a storm is one of the best ways to know how strong your community is. God, friends, family – all right there with the wind and the rain. It’s pretty powerful.

I’m not really thankful for the storm. But I am for the hands that held mine and kept me from being swept away in it.


  1. A friend (who shall for obvious reasons remain nameless) once said of Stevie Nicks "she looks like a little writher."

    I, of course, have no idea what he meant.

  2. how boring it would be if it was always calm. but it's no fun to be at the mercy of the storm. hoist the sail, pull it in tight and run before the wind.

  3. We all learn from adversity! (And by the way, I love that Fleetwood Mac song -- one of my favorites on "Tusk"!)

  4. I am inordinately fond of Stevie Nicks, and I've never quite been sure why.

    Love the catfish pond analogy. Am I grateful for the storms? No, but they are so integral to what we become that some credit, perhaps, is owed them.

  5. As I have often mentioned over at the Dept., one of my favourite quotes (from one of my favourite people*) is "There are no ordinary lives." Your life may not be one of constant upheaval or reality-series drama, but it has been far from boring, I know.

    I am very entranced by your metaphor of the catfish pond. Off to read the poem of its origin.

    *Ken Burns

  6. I think murky catfish ponds are fairly dramatic.

    I heard Ohio had some weather last night. We had rumbles of thunder and quite a bit of rain, but that was about it. Not dramatic at all, unless we speak of my dramatic display of displeasure upon finding muddy paw prints all over the sparkling clean house...lots of drama there.

  7. I do believe we come out stronger on the other side of adversity. If nothing else, it forces us to re-think our priorities and value what is really important to us. In addition, it gives us a benchmark for our next adversity.

  8. I think I am a "catfish pond" too.
    Some storms are tougher than others, like losing our mothers.
    Its true it makes us stronger, though!

  9. Rudee - ironically, I was doing yoga at my church during the worst of the storm. I could hear the wind & lightening, & see the torrential rain, but it all seemed so meaningless while I was trying to recapture the flexibility of my youth :)


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