It was Saturday, October 26, 2019. I was enjoying a quiet day in the woods of Shiloh when the eye wall of an errant hurricane blew through the area. Over the next hour I listened as the wind whipped through the massive trees, uprooting them as though they weighed nothing, or snapping them apart like twigs.
At one point in the chaos my neighbor called to be certain I was all right. Her house is directly across the street from the entrance to the property and she knew how dangerous the situation was, especially given the age and size of the trees into which the cabin had been nestled. I told her I was—at least for the moment—but I was contemplating trying to make my way out of the woods and onto safer, less forested ground. Her response came back quick and firm. “No. You stay put. The storm’s too strong for you to try and leave.”
Once the storm subsided and I could survey the damage, I realized how true her words had been—and that she had likely saved me from great harm if not death. Where my instinct had been to flee, she knew that was not the wisest or safest course of action. I had to sit quietly and wait for the storm to pass.
Two weeks ago, I wrote what is probably the shortest blog I will ever write and entitled it “No Words”. I wrote that because it was the night when a blog is supposed to magically appear, but like so many of our number, at that moment I was overwhelmed by the storm that had engulfed us. The sheer number of deaths had been staggering, and many of them had been heartbreaking and gut-wrenching. There truly were no words. I was numb from it all and struggling just to be able to function, since not functioning was not an option. But at that moment I had to sit. I had to sit quietly and wait for the storm to pass.
We all have our storms. We all have those times in our lives when we have fought against the world until we just can’t fight anymore. When we’ve struggled in the storm and the storm is obviously winning. Perhaps the storm is spawned by loss, whether of someone we love or something dear to us. Perhaps it comes from events piling one on top of the other until their weight is more than we can bear. Whatever the origin of the storm, it is in those overwhelming moments that we must simply sit and wait for the storm to pass. And it will. Maybe not as quickly as we might like. Maybe not without leaving devastation in its wake. But it will pass.
And we will be stronger for having come through it.
About the author: Lisa Shackelford Thomas is a fourth generation member of a family that’s been in funeral service since 1926. She has been employed at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Savannah, Tennessee for over 40 years and currently serves as the manager there. Any opinions expressed here are hers and hers alone, and may or may not reflect the opinions of other Shackelford family members or staff.