My thoughts and prayers go out to those recovering from the blizzard which recently effected the New England area. I have family and friends in the area, living there for a time myself. I am somewhat envious, though, since I love snow and wish to have some of what they have. It was three years ago to this day that my family and I were experiencing our second blizzard, the first happening only two days earlier! Yes, two blizzards in a matter of days. Here is one of the pictures I took:
We were without power for around three days, blessed though to have a fireplace and enough wood to keep us warm. I now fondly recall our family huddled together, day and night, by the fireplace. It was not an easy time, but those days brought us, and our neighbors closer. It allowed us to reconnect, and to appreciate (respect) our natural world. It was a moment in time allowing me to catch a glimpse of what life was like before our current electronic technological age.
Those who have followed my posts will know that my main hobby is meteorology and severe weather forecasting. Weather, in particular severe storms, have not always been my “friend”. As a child I was deathly afraid of thunderstorms. Now, I recognize that many children are, but for me, it seemed to be a fear greater than the fear felt by my friends Why? I really can’t say. It’s not as if I was ever taken up in a twister or struck by lightning. But for me, in my reality, every time there was a thunderstorm I was convinced it would produce a tornado that would drop directly on my house. And I didn’t even grow up in tornado alley! So how did I go from fearing storms to making storm forecasting and storm chasing my hobby?
The process of conversion, for me, was a gradual one. At some point I realized that maybe if I learned more about the weather it would no longer scare me. Maybe knowledge would protect me. To some degree that is true. The more I learned about climatology and tornado formation, the more I learned that not every thunderstorm would drop a tornado on my head. And the more I learned about the dynamics of our atmosphere, the more I ventured to the window, and later to the patio, during a storm. And the more time I spent watching the storms the more I began to see the beauty in them. I took this picture a couple years ago near my house:
There are so many aspects about the weather from which we could learn that I probably could write a book on those reflections alone (hmmm…..). But, as I reflect on the blizzard in New England and the blizzard I experienced three years ago, what comes to my mind is the virtue of humility.
Humility comes from the Latin, loosely translated as “grounded”, “from the earth”. It’s concept addressing one’s intrinsic self-worth. A self-worth in the fact that each of us is a worthy person in and of ourselves, as we are. Do we feel this to be true? Can I honestly feel that I am a worthwhile person, at this very moment, as I currently am? Not many of us can, but in true humility it is important for us to gain the ability to recognize our worth in the person we currently are. Not to say we are perfect, but that even in our imperfections we are a worthwhile person. It is when we try to be more important than we are when we find ourselves in a state of hubris (somewhat the opposite of humility).
Along my life’s journey it is in those moments when I try to be better than, or suppose that I have “arrived” and life is perfect, when I am then humbled. Nature, expressed in weather, has a tendency to do that to me. During the blizzard it took away my modern creature comforts, yet, in humility, I gained a closeness to family.
In this picture, taken maybe 5 or so years ago near my house, I was humbled to think that something as powerful as this could change my life in an instant (irregardless of its appearance, this is not a tornado):
Or this experience of a waterspout forming just off our dock at the house last summer. Actually, a second, smaller waterspout formed next to the dock as this picture was taken, pushing my wife and I against a piling and spraying us with water. In all my years of storm chasing that was the closest I came to an actual “incident” happening (had that second waterspout been strong it would have blown us into the turbulent water):
My love and respect of the weather, and nature, runs deep. It continues to teach me many life lessons, especially the lesson of humility. No matter how great I believe myself to be, I need to always remember there is something greater than myself out there. Not that nature is out to get me, just the reality that nature is what it is (more powerful than I), and I am what I am; a worthwhile human person, smaller than the climate surrounding me.
In humility, I have learned many life-lessons. Here are but a few:
- I am who I am, at this moment; the good and not so good. Who do I desire to be and what do I need to do to get there? Just because I am who I am today does not mean that is who I will be tomorrow.
- Don’t take self and life so seriously. Humor is so important for our mental and physical health. Find the humor in life, accept it, embrace it, and share it.
- Take a moment to see the nature around you. What do you see? Do you notice the sky, field, flower, road, bug, raindrop, snowflake…..What can you learn from them?
What have you learned about yourself, in humility, throughout your life’s journey?Official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/lifesjourneyblog