Living on Florida’s Gulf Coast in the summertime provides for veritable thunder and lightning shows on many evenings – most of which are unpredictable.
Last night provided one such evening and as I watched the shards of light dancing across the sky, it struck me (figuratively) that thunderstorms have parallels with life:
- No two lightning strikes are ever the same just as no two experiences are ever the same…
There is only one first kiss, one first love, one first anything and the second time is always a different experience – and this is a good thing! While we might want more of the good experiences, it is good to know that when we have bad experiences the first time, it will be different the next time. Many things in life come around a second time and it’s good to know that there’s a second chance to improve on the experience.
- Lightning is unpredictable where it strikes just as life is unpredictable…
Just when we think we have life under control something changes and can throw us off-balance. We become accustomed to good things (even taking them for granted sometimes) and then as quickly as they came, they change or morph into something a bit different. When things are going badly, the same adage holds true – life is constantly changing and can become better.
- The force of lightning does not always match the thunder, in life the response we get doesn’t always match what we intended…
When we communicate with others, we need to remember that the light we intend to shine into another’s life might not be the way it is received. As a result, some of our best intentions (the lightning) can elicit a seemingly unrelated response (the thunder). When we get a surprising response (usually when we get a negative reaction to something we said) – it makes sense to sit back and realize that the response reflects the state of mind of the receiver – not you! While a negative reaction can sting – especially when your intentions were pure – remember that the reaction is not about you but about your listener. And just as thunder passes, so to will the immediacy of such reactions.
- You can never predict when the storm will pass, but it will pass…
In life, stormy situations come and go, and when we are in a period when we encounter storms often (we may even feel that we are in a “storm season”), it is easy to forget that storms always ebb and tide and eventually pass over. I know that it can be difficult to realize this in the midst of a storm’s fury, but just as all summer storms in Florida subside when cooler weather prevails, so too do the storms in our life.
- There is never a guarantee that there will be more lightning strikes… or more heartbeats
None of us has a guarantee for a certain number of heartbeats in life and hopefully we have many more to come. Many scholars and authors have written that we ought to spend our lives as if each day was our last – and if we did so, there would be more kindness, tenderness, respect and consideration in the world.
- Lightning is stunningly beautiful both in form and power just as life experiences can be surprisingly beautiful…
I’ve learned that just as lightning is a thing of beauty and power, so too are the people we meet everyday. While some are more beautiful and impart more positive influences in our life, each one is as unique as a stroke of lightning – and has beauty within. I know that the jerk who cuts us off in traffic or the people who disrespect us in everyday life can seem ugly in form – I’m learning that somewhere behind the behavior is a person of some beauty – albeit it may be hidden beneath layers of ignorance or fear.
I enjoy summer electrical storms – especially when they offer dancing light shows over the Gulf of Mexico without a lot of thunderous applause from the skies. So too do I enjoy meeting more and more people in my work and personal life. It helps me to realize that storms and lightning have pluses and minuses and like the summer storms in Florida, experiences come and go and are a mix of good and bad.
Have a good week!