Last night was our first thunderstorm experience with Barnabas, and I can honestly say it was everything I thought it would be and more. Tessa, our first dog, hated storms, and she would snuggle up and whimper in fear. Neither Tippy nor Mitchell (our second and third dogs) seemed to pay any attention to storms. They would sleep right through them. Barnabas did not. He didn't sleep but neither did he whimper. He barked. He barked at every flash of lightning and growled at the rolling thunder. In a way, it was comical, but it was also exhausting.
Jason and I did our best to soothe and comfort him, but it wasn't working. At one point, Jason declared, "Stop barking at the storm. It doesn't do any good." In agreement, I continued, "That's right. You're only working yourself into a tizzy, but you're not changing anything." And then I did laugh. Yes, the thunder wasn't the only thing booming, for the voice of God came through loud and clear. "Yes, Dana, stop barking at the storm. All you're doing is working yourself into a tizzy."
Here I was thinking about how ill-equipped my poor pup was to handle the storm, and then I discovered I cope with life's storms in the exact same way. I bark, balk, cry, whine, complain, shout, and yes, even growl. And all the while, the storm rages on, completely unaffected by my noise and emotion. I, on the other hand, have worked myself into a major state of agitation and frustration. In short, instead of chasing the storm away, I invite it inside. And long after the storm is gone, I find myself still shaken and weary, just as Barnabas was last night. (Just FYI, it's 10:30 in the morning as I type this, and my exhausted pitbull is stretched out across my lap, sleeping--and snoring--soundly. He wore himself out last night!)
Storms come and go in our lives. That's a fact, and there's nothing we can do to change it. We can, however, alter how we respond to those storms. We can do as Tippy and Mitchell used to do and accept the storm for what it is and do our best to carry on despite the pouring rain and rolling thunder. Or, we can react like Barnabas, wasting what time and energy we do have in an attempt to fight off an enemy over which we have no control. For those of you taking notes, the first option is, by far, the best.
So, how do you respond to the storm?