Friday, July 31, 2009
As a child I was petrified of storms. I don't know that there is any one specific event that caused my fear. Rather a series, I imagine, of storm-related incidents. When I was two there were several tornadoes in our West Texas town on the same night, and the trauma may have begun then. I only remember feeling physically ill at the thought of a tornado. The sirens scared me silly. None of this was helped, of course, by the educational video we watched in Kindergarten showing a happy little Texas family sitting outside for a picnic, little knowing that their home was soon to be swept away by a vicious tornado later that evening. I still remember sitting there drinking from my cardboard milk carton and being more horrified than I ever was at any movie for the rest of my life. (Except Outbreak, but that's a different story.)
Regardless of its origins, my fear was almost a physical thing, and probably kept me more dependent on God than I would otherwise have been in my secure and loving little home. In fact, my dad says I prayed away every rain cloud in West Texas the whole time we lived there. However, I refuse to bear responsibility for that drought.
As I grew older, I slowly lost my fear, or if not lost it, at least it lessened. I think the change came when we moved to Colorado for a few years where we not only lived outside of tornado alley for the first time in my life, but we also lived in a basement, so even if...
Basements. As a child I always swore that I would never live in a home again that did not have a cellar. And now, at the age of thirty, I have yet to live in a home with a cellar. Of any kind at all. Of course I have a little better sense of perspective than I did as a child, so I don't feel that same driving terror every time I see a storm cloud (in fact, I kind of enjoy them) but I do watch the radar carefully, and I still feel that little knot in my stomach at the thought of all the what ifs...
Unfortunately, my son seems to have caught something of this fear. I've been very careful to hide it from him, so maybe it's genetic. I don't know. But he always worries about storms, and tonight, when he heard his Daddy and I talking about the chances of rain he said, "I sure hope it's just nimbo-stratus clouds!" with his big, worried, blue eyes looking up into the sky.
Me too, little guy. Me too.