I recently came back from a week of training. During that, we were asked to draw a picture of our lives. There was a long period there where there were no real "events." I was living, going through everyday life, raising my kids. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Then, the picture changed. I went through a storm that damaged me inside and out. Just like those buildings that withstand a Hurricaine I did not come through it the same as I went into it. There is a Pre and a Post storm line in my life.
We had to explain our pictures because the principle behind the exercise was we can't presume about someone from just viewing the outside. My picture started out with stick figures of my parents and my siblings and me and ended with me.
I have always been surrounded by family. Always knew there was someone I could run to. I have found during my storm that there are those people in our lives that are right there for us to love and support us, until our personal storm hits. It's almost like they can't bear to view the damage.
As you struggle to repair you're looking for someone to replace the broken and destroyed parts and strengthen what is left.
Sometimes you get back to the condition you were in before. Sometimes you are even better than before.
But, most of the time, the damage is still noticeable. Especially to those who know you. They can see the sparkle is gone from your eyes, that you don't smile as much or laugh enough.
They can see the difference in your walk, that you don't hold your head up as high or have the same bounce in your step.
Rain comes to everyone. And some rain causes growth and advancement. Some causes complete destruction and you have to rebuild from the ground up. I am in-between.
Even though they were able to repair my sister's house and place it back more securely on the piers the house will never be the same. The back wall shifted out and although the foundation is secure the wall will always tilt outward.
And in my own life, I will never be the same. Although I am still standing there is a difference in me. I have finally reached a place where I can no longer feel the constant rain and winds, where I can assess the demage and begin to repair it. And, I have moved into a place where I can keep myself safe from further damage from those who always come to the scene of the disaster.
So, here I am...survivor. I have withstood winds and rains and floods. I have survived the very foundation that I stood on shifting. I have survived the loss of my identity and some people that I loved.
But, most importantly, I'm still standing. And, stronger than I have been in quite some time. For that I am thankful.