Midway Mindset

Lessons Learned – It's Never Too Late to Take Flight

I’ve spent the last few days preparing for Hurricane Florence and the toll it’s due to take on North Carolina. Lines are 30 cars deep at most gas stations and propane is a coveted, sought-after commodity. Grocery stores have become a gluttonous free-for-all with the masses planning for Armageddon. Friends and neighbors are communicating with fervor on Facebook about where they can find bottled water and Nextdoor is a resource for finding a generator to keep the lights on and the food fresh. Taking preventative measures is a beautiful thing. And, it got me thinking…

What if we took care of our relationships – our marriages – as if a storm is coming? What if at the first change in barometric pressure in our relationship we stopped what we were doing and took notice? What if we watched the weather with our significant other, paid attention to the signs and then actually did something about it? 

  1. In a hurricane, you run around securing all of the heavy shit around your home that can cause damage. Many of us take better care of our garbage cans and our hanging plants than we do each other. When you see a storm in your partner or your relationship, what do you do to mitigate the damage? Or, do you add to the velocity by blaming each other for the wind and the rain?
  2. We move furnishings and valuables to the highest point of the house when the floodwaters are predicted. We climb step after step, not even sure if it’s necessary. Would you carry your significant other if they were afraid? Would you carry them even if you thought it was futile? How far? How many floors?
  3. We buy flashlights and set out candles in anticipation of the electricity going out. We charge our phones and external drives so we don’t lose communication. What do we do to prepare for the loss of light and intimacy in our relationships? How many of us begged for our partners to work with us on communication or go to counseling during decades of blinking lights while we weathered the storm with our windblown hair? Those same partners wouldn’t hesitate to buy the 24-pack of batteries or 20 jugs of water at the advice of the local meteorologist yet they don’t take seriously the emotional forecast of the person they are supposed to love most in the world. And so your relationship goes without water and cell phone service for a quarter of a century. And one of you ends up bitter, lonely, and thirsty.
  4. We are told to never drive or walk through standing water during a storm – that water can be deeper than it appears. Did you know that two feet of water can sweep away cars or human beings? Relationships are nothing if not standing water.  And it can be deeper than it appears. Give it the respect and care that it deserves. Don’t be caught off-guard wading through your own private stream and get swept away in the flood.
  5. We’re encouraged to fill our tubs and empty jugs with extra water in case the supply runs out or is contaminated. We all need reserves to draw on in relationships. My dad used to say his goal was to do one more kind thing for my mother than she did for him each and every day. He was planning for a rainy day. And it worked for 37 years until the day she died and the chance of rain dissipated. My dad never regretted filling the tub.
  6. We wait in line to gas up our cars and have an extra gas can available for when we run out. All relationships risk running out of gas if we keep driving by the filling station hoping to make it just a few more miles. We are only human and we don’t play well with others (particularly those that we share a home with) without proper fuel. You can’t expect to keep driving without filling up the tank. What exactly that fuel is may look different depending upon the couple but it’s the rare relationship that doesn’t need a gallon of gas, a jump-start or an oil change every now and then. If you ignore those needs, you go nowhere and one of you is out shopping for a new car while the other one cries on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck.
  7. We ensure that we have a battery operated radio, interesting books, and board games to entertain ourselves during the wind and rain. We offer to host a hurricane party in the neighborhood. We check on friends and relatives. Do you give that much thought to how you spend your time with your partner when the sun is shining? How often do you check in with them? Support them? “Are you alright? Do you need anything? How can I make you feel more appreciated each day?”
  8. We’re told to take pictures or videos of the contents of our house in case we lose everything. Most of us get busy and we never get around to it. We think we know what we have, that we’ll remember what’s most important. But, do we really? Have you assessed what you value in your relationship recently? How would you feel if that person and what’s special about them were swept away?  Do you even know what you’re at risk of losing? Taking note of your valuables (and what you need to do to protect them) should be the first thing you do when you feel a storm coming.  And then, act on it. Immediately. If you don’t, the only thing you’ll be preparing to live with is the wreckage and scattered debris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 thoughts on “If You Sense a Storm is Coming…

  1. pkj202 says:

    Katie~

    Your blog is powerful and thoughtful. The TJ Maxx story brought tears to my eyes, and here again, the storm/relationship comparison has stopped me in my tracks.

    Both are a gift from you to me, dear old friend. I am praying for you and all my home people in this swirling storm. May God and your many preparations keep you safe!

    Thanks for keeping in touch and putting pen to paper so beautifully.

    Warmest regards ~

    Kim Jordan

    >

    Like

    1. What a way to start the morning. You made ME cry. What a beautiful note from one of the most beautiful souls that I know. Thank you for taking the time to write and tell me how you felt. I wonder sometimes if I’m making an impact. It means so much to hear from you and hope that you’re doing well. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and the honesty. If we could all just be a little more vulnerable and truthful I think the world might stop turning quite so upside down. Much love.

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  2. Amanda says:

    This is so so powerful. I feel like my marriage is in it’s hurricane season. I want to send this to my husband, but I know he won’t read it. I just keep praying God will open his heart. Please stay safe! Keep writing!

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    1. I was married to someone that wouldn’t read anything that even I wrote! Counseling, self-help books, even seeing a priest etc. were not options in his world. It was damaging. We take care of our cars with regular oil changes, rotate the tires…why not our relationships? I find it extremely frustrating. It’s our most valuable asset and it is so often back burner for one partner or the other. Will be praying as well.

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      1. Amanda says:

        Seriously, that’s so crazy that I think the same thing. I say that when your car needs a tune up, you take it in to the shop. Sometimes your brain just need a tune up, so you go talk to someone! Thank you! I gave it to God, so it’s in his hands.

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  3. Jan Kerr says:

    You have an amazing gift for being able to see humanity with such clarity and then use vivid, compassionate,and gracious words to share your gift with others. Whenever I see that you have posted a fresh blog entry; I stop whatever I am doing so I can read it. It always speaks to me regarding something that I have experienced in my past or in my current situation. I wonder if you really understand how truly brave and inspiring you are. So glad to have had the privilege of meeting you many ears ago. Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow…Jan, there are no words. That made me cry and feel so proud. Thank you for sharing how you feel about my writing. It means so much. Wish our paths crossed more.

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