Spring in Texas is gorgeous.  The sunshine is warm and inviting.  The wild flowers are blooming in all the open fields and along the highways.  Spring in Texas is where we all want to be, except when the storms fire up.  Two nights ago we had a storm that dropped an inch of rain on us in no time, the winds blew at 85 mph and the hail littered the yard.  As we started the clean up the next morning it felt overwhelming.  A neighbor down the street had an entire tree down across the road.  A friend in an adjacent neighborhood had the tree in his front yard laying across the drive way.  Our next door neighbor had a tree land on their roof and knock the chimney down.  Our pergola was picked up off it’s supporting poles and reset on the roof.  Not to mention the random large limbs in the yard and the billions of broken twigs that covered streets, drives, grass and were plastered up against walls.  

                                    The house next door.

                                    The house next door.

After a storm, it’s hard to know where to start.  Everything seems so insurmountable that you feel like no matter what, you can’t make a difference.  No matter what you start on, there will still be so much to do that you’ll never overcome it all.  We’ve all experienced personal storms or moments in our life when we felt like that.  As I began what seemed like a puny effort to face the damage of the storm, I started to think about how my actions after a physical storm are really similar to the action that needs to be taken after personal storms.  

First, just get started. If the “bleeding has stopped,”  just get started.  Once you start picking up after the storm, you can adjust your course of action.  But the big first step is just get started.  So I walked out the garage door and started sweeping the drive way.  Probably not, the most urgent or essential but getting started helped me to assess what to do next, how to break down the big job into smaller ones, etc.  Personal storms can paralyze you.  The best way to recover is to get moving.

Start on something small and manageable so that the completion can give you encouragement and motivation.  The driveway seemed do-able to me.  I scooped up several bags of debris.  It was manageable and the progress was obvious.  It helped me see that I could get the front yard cleaned up also.  One small win, after a storm, propels you to the next win.  

Get help. I do not have the understanding or skill to fix the pergola.  The only step to take there — call the experts, starting with the insurance adjuster.  Sometimes during or after a storm, the best thing you can do is call the professionals — people with skills you do not have.

Walk away for a period.  After hours of work on the aftermath of a storm, taking a break gives you fresh wind to tackle the next thing and new perspective to see the progress that’s already been made.   The entire area was without electricity, so we drove 25 minutes away to have lunch. At lunch, we relaxed, enjoyed family, and rested from the work.  Upon our return, it looked totally do-able.  Just hours earlier, it was overwhelming but now it felt conquerable.  

Finally, give thanks.  After seventeen hours without electricity, an entire community began to express thanks.  Gratitude for what we do have and gratefulness for what we typically have and a genuine spirit of awe for the intangible things of life.  No matter where you are in the storm or after, choosing gratitude will adjust your own perspective and develop a spirit of hope.