Early Tuesday night I fell asleep in my recliner, TV going and lights on. At some point, my wife turned out the lights, turned off the TV, and left me there with the dog. That’s fine – it’s not the first or last time for that, even though I don’t plan on nights sleeping that way.
The slumber was interrupted, however, about 2:00 a.m. when the room was occasionally lit up with lightning, the sound of thunder, and the pressing of a scared, shaking dog against my chest. Even though we were in the basement – the safest place in any storm – my dog, Callie, just doesn’t handle storms well.
I petted her, put my arm around her, talked gently to her, reassuring her that all was well. I closed the open window nearby so the sounds would be less disruptive. In the past I’ve even wrapped her in a blanket on my lap to help give her a more secure feeling when she’s scared like that. If dogs ever intend to take over the world, they really must get over their fear of storms (and vacuum cleaners).
In the end, what it really takes to calm her is the passing of the storm, although the closeness and kindness during the storm is what she needs at the worst of it, even if it doesn’t remove all the fear.
How do you handle the storms that come your way – not the weather-related ones, but the other disruptions of life? Do you panic? Do you make it through them just fine? Do you go to others for assurance or are you one that others come to for comfort and help?
It may not be possible to easily change your gut reaction to such life events, but to whatever extent it is in your control, it would be most helpful to be that calming influence others need. All of us experience storms. All of us need to deal with them effectively. Isn’t it better to be that rock others turn to in life’s storms rather than respond in ways that only cause more disruption for others?
Leap year lesson #269 is Be a calming influence in storms.