As I begin this blog, I prepare to leave my home, my family and everything I have known for the last three years to begin a new life on another coast.
Sure, this isn't the first time I've done this: I moved to the East Coast three years ago from California -- but recognizing a pattern in my behavior brings to mind a lesson. The first lesson I ever learned. A lesson I'm still learning.
Endings in my life are always abrupt and devastating. This current bout includes more than one ending, in fact. My second marriage is ending as we speak. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it's certainly a struggle.
I am quitting a job I like a lot in a gamble to make a life I'll love.
And I'm dragging my three kids cross country, whether they like it or not, from their home in South Carolina back to my native California where the familiar and the unknown await us.
But I realized something -- just today in fact as I stood outside my beloved southern brick home and watched a Carolina thunderstorm roll in, face upturned to the turbulent sky, thunder broiling through a darkened heaven, thick drops richoteting off my face and pummeling the green canopy around the yard. I never feel more alive than I do during a thunderstorm, with the Carolina pines whipping overhead and frogs crooning in the shrubbery underfoot. Life is in the spark, the bright lightning, the growling thunder. It scares the hell out of me, to stand underneath that ethereal battle, beneath the flailing limbs of white oaks and crepe myrtles, which in good weather are rooted so strong it takes a machine to yank them out of the ground. The lesson to learn from a storm is that a strong one can upturn a centuries-old oak. Storms bring change, bring new life and set fire to the old. They wreak havoc and set fire engine sirens to roaring. They can roil a calm sea, but they can also set birds to singing and children to dancing.
This move of mine is a storm of my own making, and I recognize this. But I also see the life in it, despite the death of my current way of living. I don't know what I'll see on the other side, what job I'll get or house I'll live in. I don't know whether I'll bounce when I hit land or crash and burn and like lightning striking a tall, overgrown pine.
But if I do catch fire, at least I'll know all the clutter of my old underbrush will be cleared away. The view after the storm is always the clearest, after all.