Life has a way of throwing us curve balls when we least expect it. It is how we handle the curves that matters. Are you one to curl up into a ball and pray for it to be over, or are you the one to get ready to catch whatever comes your way? I was reminded of this while the Houston Astros won the World Series. While they were thrown some curve balls throughout the season and series, they held steadfast to goals and their determination and perseverance paid off in the end. This Fall, Houston was thrown a curve eball that many are still reeling from, thank you Hurricane Harvey.
As many of you know my sister’s family was affected by the flooding that occurred during Hurricane Harvey. 30 inches of foul smelling flood water streamed into their home, destroying all that laid in its path. We painstakingly went through every single drawer, cabinet, and closet that held their possessions and weeded out what was salvageable and what was not. It has taken them six months to return to their home. My sister, her husband, three teenagers, and one rambunctious 2 ½ year old, six of them, are squished living in their upstairs and newly finished kitchen. They have been steadily putting their house back together piece by piece, room by room. And while they are still quite a bit away from the finish line (they are still without floors, a master bedroom & bath, & furniture), it’s there in the distance, they can finally see it! Their house and their neighbors’ houses are slowly being repaired. While a few curled up and walked away from their homes, most of the homeowners in their neighborhood have chosen to face the aftermath of the storm with renewed spirit and faith and are busily working on remaking their homes, breathing in new life.
While not a curve ball, January and February were pretty dreary in this part of the country, offering its own set of challenges. Our sunshine quota was running on empty for what seems like weeks. Our days, filled with clouds, rain, fog, and more clouds and rain. Such dreary weather is sure to put a damper on one’s spirit. I’m not sure how those of you in the Northern part of our great country handle such times, as you all have long stretches without seeing the sun. The other day was particularly dreadful, it rained off and on all day long. Not a ray of sunshine was to be found. We hadn’t been able to get outside for days and my toddler was beginning to climb the walls – literally! My little one, suffering from acute cabin fever had effectively wreaked havoc on our home, with his toys strewn all over the house, including areas he’s rarely allowed in. I dug out some of his vinyl stickers and was showing him how he could decorate the windows with them, when something outside caught my eye.
Outside, still raining by the way, in our screened in porch, a beautiful Monarch butterfly had emerged from its chrysalis. How surprised it must have been to have awakened to find it pouring. It was still working on unfurling its mighty wings and beginning the arduous task of getting them to dry, an almost impossible feat while it was raining just inches from where it clung to the screen. Despite the rainy curve ball it was thrown, and the dreariness of the day, this beautiful creature had emerged with its brilliant colors completing its transformation.
Growing up, spring in the Rockies came with its own set of curve balls, often in the form of weather with crazy swings between blue skies with warm sunshine to freezing temperatures and snowfall. I would hate to be a meteorologist in the area, as it’s weather is often unpredictable. Springtime in the Rockies has been notorious for being the snowiest time of the year with storms bringing several inches to feet of heavy wet snow. Once a storm passes, however, the sun comes out in a brilliant display, quickly melting away the newly fallen snow. One of my favorite things about Spring in the Rockies was looking for pasque flowers, (also called the prairie crocus or Easter flower). They would start popping up out of the gravel soil right around Easter-time each year. Despite their delicate look, they have to be fairly hardy plants, awakening first to push through the still cold soil and snow. Their deep purple flowers with thick fuzzy leaves and stems were a reminder that warmer weather was right around the corner. With my Nana in the lead, my cousins and I would scour the hillsides for signs of pasque flowers, as they were always the first signal that spring had arrived.
Throughout our year, we are thrown curve balls, it is up to us to react to them. Are we going to cower and cover our eyes, and wait until the dust settles with the umpire yelling “STRIKE 1!” Or are we going to stare down that ball and hit it out of the park? We all weather storms and many of us that emerge are stronger because of it. Despite our long freezes in January, plants are sprouting new growth, bulbs planted in the fall are popping out of the soil, trees are budding sending clouds of yellow pollen into the air, and the insects are starting to fill our yards. Neighborhoods are seeing more activity outside of homes that have been closed tight during the winter months. It’s time to be like the beautiful Monarch, wrapping itself up in a cocoon for the winter months, now emerging renewed and beautiful. Let’s use these few days before the official start of Spring to renew our spirit. Read an inspiring book, listen to an inspiring speaker, find a way to renew your spirit! No matter the storms and challenges we are faced with, there is always a rainbow when the storm clears.