Keeping Our Heads Above Water (K.Blais)

We have been inundated by rain. Not only rain, but the consequences of water displacement, dams, and beaver habitats have wreaked havoc on many areas. Our rivers and creeks have overflowed with the sheer magnitude of the volumes of water they have struggled to hold. Our lakes, once beautiful places of serenity and peace nestled in God’s country, have become sources of gradual destruction and continuous elements of stress.

Bridges have been destroyed. Roads have washed away. Sink holes have erupted where the earth has seemed to attempt its escape from the intensity of the water’s force. Beloved cottages and breathtaking homes at the edges of our bodies of water have suffered. Belongings have been lost, and while only material, the loss of these possessions has still hurt us.

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(photo credits to RL)

We see a sense of devastation and destruction in so many physical ways, several locations around us hit harder than others, and yet how similar this flooding is to our emotional lives as well.

We often become inundated with problems in life. Those emotional wounds we know all too well, in addition to other stresses (both physical and emotional) laid upon us, can seem so much like the volumes of water poured upon our land. We feel the powerlessness of our inability to control what is happening to us.

We have been wronged and the sheer unfairness of being the person wronged can overwhelm us. We feel the injustice of being taken from and yet we are unable to fight back. We are abandoned, betrayed, and deceived. We struggle to obtain truth, only to be scorned by lies and untruths. What we have attempted to build up for ourselves, has only been torn down. More and more the complexities of life, even the every day things, saturate us.

Yet somehow, maybe even somewhat surprisingly, even through the downpours and the flooding, we do not crawl inside of ourselves to hide away. We do not permit the waves to simply continue to cascade over us, rendering us powerless. We do not allow ourselves to sink and drown.

Instead, we search for higher ground. We fill our sandbags and attempt to barricade the water from causing further destruction. We attempt to salvage what we have left. We lean on the support of our loving friends and family. We allow those who want to help, to help. We trust in our faith and in our beliefs. We face the issues assaulting us head on, doing what we can with what we have.

We take things one step at a time, one day at a time. We try to look for the positive and to acknowledge it, wherever the positive can be found. We remind ourselves that tomorrow is a new day in which the sun may shine and the water may slowly begin to evaporate. We keep our head above the water line, treading for as long as it takes because we do not give up. We will not let the waters win.

We remind ourselves to keep our faith forefront. Soon the water will recede back to its natural shoreline. Soon our feet will touch the sand again. Life will continue on. There may be some repairs ahead of us, but that is no different than how the Earth continues rotating on its axis, repairing itself as it goes.

And we trust that what was once beautiful, can be made beautiful again.

 

Letting The Air Get At It (K.Blais)

An old wives’ tale speaks about letting a wound get air in order to heal better. Although medical opinion varies on whether on a wound site heals better covered or uncovered, I am of the belief that both physical and emotional wounds heal better when air is allowed to get in and the wound is given permission to breathe.

Hurt, betrayal, disappointment, embarrassment, and even humiliation have become emotional wounds common in life. Whether intentional or unintentional, because of simple negligence or ignorance, or because of malicious spite triggered by envy or revenge, wounds occur.

We are hurt by those we thought would never hurt us. We are betrayed by those who we believed had our back unconditionally. We are disappointed by how we are treated by others, especially when we would never treat them in the same way. We are embarrassed when we are called out in front of others, or when we are ridiculed when we least expect it. We are humiliated when we believe that what we thought would never happen to us, has indeed happened.

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So, what do we do?

Some of us may bandage it all up, wrapping the damage of the wound tightly to us. We may hide the injury away, underneath a protective covering, hoping that in time the wound will heal on its own. And perhaps the wound will heal. It may disappear entirely with only a trace of a scar or it may seep for a long while, oozing within itself, barely contained behind the bandage that holds it, before eventually healing in its own way.

Some of us may decide not to cover the wound. We may let the wound remain open, airing it out, because we believe that when we can air out our wounds they will heal more quickly and with less oozing and scarring. We leave the wound open instead of covered, baring our injury, in the hope that air and time will heal.

Airing out an emotional wound requires courage. For some it may be talking to a trusted friend about our feelings. For others it may be writing or blogging about a troublesome issue, or in a less public forum, it may mean journaling or writing private letters. In any case, the airing out is important for those people to heal.

Airing out takes courage because sometimes people perceive us as angry. They may think that we are on a rant and pissed off again. They may think we are too sensitive, that we take too much to heart, that we need to let things go a bit more. They may tell us to focus on what really matters (which is entirely subjective), and to let things roll off our backs. And maybe they are right.

Maybe we are angry and pissed off. Maybe we are too sensitive, too heartfelt, and too conscientious about justice and fairness to others. Maybe we believe that the world needs to remember that everyone has feelings and those feelings should be valued no matter who you are or what you can or cannot do for someone else. Maybe we feel that being kind will always be more important than being right.

But that doesn’t make us wrong in feeling any of these ways. Airing or ‘talking’ about when we have been hurt, when we feel wronged, even when we feel insecure can help us face our own perspective, as well as to see and hear someone else’s. We can heal faster when we realize that we are not alone, that others have felt and will feel this same, or in a similar, way. We can learn from another person’s experiences, we can receive valuable advice, or we can simply hear “I get it. I understand.”

We may be embarrassed by our wounds. We may feel childish or juvenile. We may think that we appear weak or ineffective when we allow our wounds to be exposed for anyone else to see. We may feel that we are to blame for allowing these things and/or people to hurt us, in some cases repeatedly. We may even believe that perhaps we someone deserve to be wounded.

But, it takes a strong person to speak about hurt and betrayal. It takes strength and courage to reach out and to bare ourselves and our hurt to someone else. We may be allowing patterns to repeat themselves in our lives, but that is why it is so important to air out our injuries. When things hit the air sometimes the reasons for them become more obvious to us. We are able to reflect a little more clearly on ourselves and on the situation surrounding us. We can see and evaluate the truth about ourselves and others. We can learn, we can understand and be understood, and we can grow.

It may also take time, but airing out our wounds can allow us to heal more quickly and healthily. We will still continue to be hurt by others at times, this is most likely inevitable, but perhaps we can learn to allow the air to heal us. And perhaps we may also learn how to prevent a greater wound from taking place in the future.

(photo courtesy of steptohealth.com)

Choosing Your Battle (K.Blais)

battle (noun) – an extended contest, struggle, or controversy.

principle (noun) – a moral rule or belief that helps you know what is right and wrong and that influences your actions.      (www.merriam-webster.com)

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Throughout our experiences in life, we often find ourselves having to choose our battles.

There are always (and will always be) issues or concerns that will pop up in our daily lives which we must deal with in one way or another. We may choose to address the concern, to ignore the issue, or even to file it away to be dealt with on another day. We may choose to handle one battle over another, weighing out the pros and cons, perhaps even asking ourselves ‘how much does it really matter anyway?’

There are times though, when we are more successful at “choosing” our battles appropriately. This is often difficult for us as human beings because even though we attempt to stay rational and ‘logical’, our hearts (that is our emotions and feelings) become involved and it is hard to look past the “principle” of the battle itself.

We may also find it difficult to choose to ignore  or ‘let go’ of certain issues because we may feel that they blatantly go against our own morals, beliefs, and principles. We may also struggle with injustices in certain situations, mainly because we believe that we would never treat others in the way in which they are treating someone else.

Lying often begins at a young age. Lying about something small and trivial like who took the skipping rope isn’t a huge deal in the big scheme of things, but the act of lying is. If we are going to lie about taking a skipping rope when we are young, what won’t we lie about when we are older? The art of lying becomes a tangled web which we weave and one in which we often trap ourselves.

Disrespecting another person in words or in actions isn’t ever ok, but is it as bad as physically being aggressive towards someone else? Perhaps not, but it is still wrong. We may find it very difficult to let disrespect “go” because respect is something we all deserve to be given (because it is something which we all want in return).

Being trustworthy, honest, and kind is not everyone’s goal, believe it or not. There are some who do not care if there are people in this world who actually trust them nor may they care that they cannot be trusted, how honest or dishonest they are, or even if they show kindness to others or not. It is often unclear to us as to why individuals may act this way,  which makes it very difficult to understand these actions especially when our own principles do not allow us to support, condone, or even to adequately explain this behaviour.

Let’s try to remember:

We were put on this Earth to help one another. If we can’t help one another, then we certainly shouldn’t hurt one another.

Words and inaction can inflict as much damage as physically aggressive acts. Our words and behaviours are what shape our reputation for the most part so we should choose them wisely.

We will often have no idea what battles the person next to us may be fighting. Choose to be kind over being anything else.

The Golden Rule isn’t that hard to live by – if you wouldn’t want it done to you, don’t do it to someone else. It’s that simple.

Whatever our beliefs and principles are, our own struggles and trials will come and go. We will have to choose our battles and to fight them in our own way, without losing sight of our principles in the process.

The Nose On Your Face (K.Blais)

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My nine year-old asked me an interesting question the other day.

“Mom, did you know that your eyes always see your nose, it’s just that your brain ignores it?”

Why, no, in fact, I guess I didn’t.

I mean, I knew it. I just hadn’t really ever thought about it much. I don’t always look out of my eyes and see my nose I realized, but it was an interesting question which led to some further questions of my own.

Like our nose, how much do we see that our brain chooses to ignore?

It’s like that with people sometimes, isn’t it? You may hear things about someone, but you do the ‘right’ thing and choose to form your own opinion. This itself isn’t a bad thing. It is good sometimes not to take to heart everything that you hear. You may believe whole heartedly in an individual, you are adamant that he/she is a good person, sometimes even to the disagreement of that person him/herself,  you believe in that fact more than anything, only to find out that you just couldn’t see what everyone else saw all along. Your brain chose to ignore the nose on your face.

Sometimes we are blind to the things right in front of us, even the good things. We fail to see those who truly care about us and who are, and have been, there for us in good times and in bad times (because true friends are there in both). We may forget to appreciate those people and to give them the time and respect which they deserve. (Hint: They are usually the ones who don’t demand these things from us; they are standing back silently cheering for us from the sidelines.) We may also neglect to see what in our life is positive and beneficial for our well-being. We may choose, over and over again, to push aside the things which should be priorities. Again, our brain chooses to ignore the nose on our face.

While it is extremely important not to “cut off your nose to spite your face”, (which itself could be a whole different post), we must remember that even though we don’t always acknowledge its presence, our nose is a vital part of us. While it is good to ignore it sometimes, sometimes it is also good to stare at your nose and acknowledge the demanding presence that it is on your face as well.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, we are given daily reminders of how important our nose is. We are sadly and tragically aware of how precious life is and how important it is to hold our loved ones close when we learn of a friend losing a beloved child. We are reminded of how valuable our own health is when we ourselves become sick, or a loved one does, and we need to seek out medical care. We are reminded of the importance of respecting, valuing, and cherishing our friends and family members, especially when their absence leaves a noticeable void in our lives. We may begin to miss things which once were very important in our lives, without even realizing that we had begun to ignore their importance and significance.

Perhaps we can all think of the nose question as a bit of a reality check.

What do your eyes see?

(image used courtesy of All-free-download.com)

Damned If You Do (K.Blais)

How many times have we felt this way – like we are damned if we do, and damned if we don’t? How often has life dealt us hands or placed us in situations in which there is no way possible that we can win?

Life can be like a series of no-win situations and since interactions with others are part of life it is no wonder that our relationships often follow life’s example. Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we will never win. No matter how determined we are to be kind, to attempt to please others, to be thoughtful and/or diplomatic in and about our dealings with others, we will never do enough, be enough, or please anyone, including ourselves.

It may seem that there will be no satisfying anyone because there are some who can only see the negative. There are those who seem programmed to pick out the flaws, faults, and errors which others make. For some, I suppose, it supplies an element of satisfaction to point out these shortcomings because, perhaps, it makes them feel better about themselves and their own inadequacies. It’s a fair-from-perfect strategy though – the one in which we tear someone else down in order to build ourselves up. This only becomes another no-win situation that will always result in a pattern of events which will continue to prove hurtful to everyone in the end.

When we seem determined to be “right”, to be the one who proves others wrong, or to be he who acts as a mirror to us in order to portray where we have gone wrong, we place ourselves in a position where others may begin to resent us. Few of us believe that we are perfect, most believe themselves to be far from it. Having our mistakes, however innocent, continuously pointed out to us only adds to this feeling. But, if that’s the goal of some, to keep us feeling inferior and less than adequate, then mission accomplished I suppose. When we constantly feel like we will never live up to another’s expectations, some of us will stop trying and this is when resentment builds and communication breaks down.

If you are the mirror, the finger pointer, the one who is always right and points to the always wrong, please take a moment and ask yourself why you are doing this. Is it because you feel badly about some elements in your own life that you are determined to make these things seem better by proving someone else is worse off? Or is it because you simply have a strong dislike for those you are determined to prove at fault?

If you are the reflection, on the receiving end of the pointing, the one who seems to be always wrong or at fault, please also take a moment and ask yourself why you continue to put up with this kind of treatment. Is it because you are and have always been the peacemaker and you are determined to make peace even with this? Or is it because you truly want to finally have the respect of those who are determined to prove you at fault?

People can only change when they truly want to change. Patterns and habits can be broken, but only with determination and a true desire to break them. The first step is acknowledging that there is indeed something to modify in our behaviour and the next one is admitting that we have been experiencing or causing others pain and sadness through these actions. Communication needs to happen, but everyone has to be willing to communicate compassionately and respectfully.

Hopefully there are still enough of us who like to think of the glass as half-full, but there will always be times where no matter how hard we try, we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. The important thing is to acknowledge those life situations and relationships in which we can never win and to make a decision to move toward putting our time, energy, and positivity into the ones in which all parties feel equal, respected, and loved.

Testing Your Patience (K.Blais)

It’s usually right around this time of year that I begin to feel frustrated. I become frustrated with a season that seems reluctant to arrive (even though technically it is here already on the calendar) and frustrated with the “in between” feel of things – between wanting to move forward and relishing the fact that I can still hold back. 

It seems that this time of year is always when the most valuable lessons in patience are given to me and my tolerance for learning through those lessons is truly tested. 

But, in thinking about that, I realized that we often find our patience is tested, not just when we are waiting for spring to finally arrive, but also throughout the year, in different ways.

We find our patience being tested with the people in our lives- when we see what they need to do to help themselves and when we offer our advice and yet they still keep trudging down the same old path. Some days that can be likened to trying to convince a drowning person that he can save himself just by standing up. Our patience is surely challenged then.

Other times we may find ourselves having to be patient with those in our life by letting them figure things out for themselves. We can offer advice, even from valuable experience, but there are times when people just need to live and learn. As much as we may want to protect them, sometimes they need to make their own mistakes and learn from the consequences which arise. It takes patience to stand back and simply watch things enfold.

We learn the lessons of patience from our own wants and desires too.  We may want things to happen in a certain way and at a certain time because we believe that is what’s best for us, but things always happen when and how they are supposed to – in our necessary patience we are reminded that it is God who knows what is best. 

So we must learn to also have patience with ourselves. We will slip up, we will regress, and we will change direction several times in our lives and on our journey. We need to be patient with ourselves throughout our own mistakes. We need to allow ourselves to fall down, as long as each time we fall, we get back up again stronger than ever. If we fall down 7 times, we need to get up 8. 

We may have all heard the phrase “patience is a virtue” and it really is. Patience is something which can be learned though- it is a behaviour of high moral standards that we can all aspire to. We may need to learn patience through timely lessons, but we are all capable of learning. 

It just might take some, well, patience. 

  

Eyes Wide Open (K.Blais)

I turned 39 over the Christmas break. It wasn’t a huge monumental occasion or anything like that, but it did give me a reason to pause for a moment and think about life so far. I’ve learned a lot in my 39 years.  Probably though, I believe that I have learned more in the last 12 than in the previous 27. 

As a child, teenager, and even young adult I believe that I, in some ways, coasted through life a bit oblivious, unaware, and sometimes with my eyes closed. I had a loving and innocent childhood. I led a somewhat sheltered life, but I don’t see anything wrong with being sheltered as a child. As a teen and young adult I attended a great university, obtained three degrees with honours, and got a job in a fulfilling career field. I got married and began a comfortable life with my husband and friend. 

I grew up believing that people are generally good and want to help others. The times in my life where this was proven completely inaccurate (at least by some) were shocking and devastating to me. Betrayals, lies, injustices, and the like shook me to my core in those early days of my ‘awakening’. I quickly came to realize that not all people are good and not all people want to help others. For some this may have been common knowledge, but for me it was as if my eyes were opened wider than they had ever been. 

Twelve years ago, just about the time when I had my son and started a family, I began to realize that not everyone wants what’s best for others. Many want what’s best for them. This was a foreign concept to me in certain ways. I still struggle with understanding it to some degree as I grew up believing that if we want what’s best for everyone then what’s best for us will naturally fall into place. 

Sometimes your childhood beliefs are the hardest ones to adjust. 

In all actuality I haven’t changed that thinking entirely. I still believe that when everyone benefits we all win. I still believe that most people are good and that most people want what’s best for us, at least in my world (I hope) they do. 

But, when we encounter those individuals who are out for number one only, who take and take and take and seldom give back, who chastise and criticize us for their own shortcomings, and who look to hurt rather than to help then maybe it’s time to clean house, to take out the trash, and to burn the bridge. 

I believe in giving everyone a fair chance, but I also believe that there are times when we need to rely on our own common sense and intuition. There are times when we need to use our God-given intelligence and realize when enough is enough. There are times when we need to see those who really love us and those who only love what we do for them.

Unfortunately, it is often in our time of need, when we are at our lowest points, when we look to those individuals that we thought were our closest allies and friends, that we are brought back to reality. Sometimes we are disappointed, perhaps even shocked, by their inability to be there for us. These are the times when we need to have our eyes wide open to the individuals whom we choose to allow (and who we choose to allow to remain) in our lives. We need to ask ourselves whether the people who take the most time, energy, and love from us will actually give the same in return. 

The rest of our lives lie stretched out in front of us like an open road, whether we are 39, 59, or 79. At any age, at any stage, and in any situation maybe it’s time to pause and reflect on what we see in our lives at this point and if who we have in our lives is a positive reflection of who we are and what we hope to achieve. If we have uncertainties about those things and people maybe it’s time to ask questions and to see what the responses are. We may not always like the answers, but the questions will always be worth asking. 

Maybe it’s better to have our eyes wide open sooner, rather than later. 

words and dreams (K.Blais)

I had a dream the other night about someone really important to me. In waking, I was overcome with feeling melancholy and “saddish” (if that makes sense). While dreaming I was trying to convey how much I truly cared for this person, but my words seemed to have little effect. The individual in my dream seemed to be unfazed by my words which seemed so clear to me, and, it was indeed saddening. I woke up almost in tears and I carried that feeling of sadness with me throughout the entire day. 

I’ve been dreaming a lot lately, vivid and clear dreams that often seem so real I could retell them as if I have actually lived them in real life. I’ve also noticed that my dreams of late have reflected my real life thoughts and feelings, even concerns which have boggled about in my mind throughout the day. 

I have a number of friends whom I care about very much that are going through difficult times with various issues in their lives. My heart goes out to them and my thoughts and prayers are always with them, but I also think how important it is to hug them when they need it and to tell them how I feel, and not just in my dreams. 

In real life, there are times when I worry that the people I care about don’t know how deeply I do care for them. While I always strive to use words full of meaning and to choose them wisely, I wonder sometimes if the words we say have enough value to make people truly believe them. Yes, actions do speak louder than words, but, as I’ve said before, words can be extremely important too. They are, afterall, one of our main forms of communicating with one another. 

Have words lost meaning? Have we used, reused, and overused them so much that others cannot find their intended value sincere? 

We are now submersed in the season of sharing peace, love, and joy. How do you intend to spread those things? Will you share more of yourself with others? Will you choose words that adequately and genuinely express how you feel about those in your life? Will you be more aware of the words you choose to use, how their meanings are interpreted, and how their interpretations might differ from your intentions? 

Will you speak and stand up for those who cannot speak for themselves, even if it means that you are one voice and are standing alone? 

This Christmas, and there beyond, will you choose your words to tell others how much you appreciate and love them? Will you make sure that your words have the meaning and value that you intend for them? 

The View From Down Here (K. Blais)

I wrote a love letter to a boy once. In it I told him about the things I liked, one of which was lying under the Christmas tree and looking up at the branches. 

  

I remembered this “love letter” the other night. The idea had struck me in the quiet of the late hours that I should revisit my childhood and lie down beneath the lit Christmas tree. Truth be told I could only get my head and shoulders under it, but as I gazed up at the branches the love letter popped into my head. 

It wasn’t the love letter that inspired me to write this post however, but as I thought about the letter and I wondered if the boy I wrote it to even remembered it, I thought about the secrets we keep. 

I never told anyone about the letter. In all actuality that very same boy is married to a friend now. I’m sure we would all probably laugh and joke about the letter if it ever got brought up, but it seems content to keep its own secret for now. 

As I lay under the Christmas tree and gazed up at its branches I also thought about how different it looked  on the underside and how my perspective of my tree was entirely changed. The angle in which I could see the ornaments was completely different and while the tree was still pretty, it definitely looked less glamorous from underneath. 

I wonder if we only let people see one side of us, the glamorous side, will they ever truly understand us or what goes on under our branches? 

I told a dear friend recently that it’s ok to be weak in front of others that care about us and that it is completely acceptable to show that we have feelings that can be hurt. I truly believe that there is nothing wrong in letting others know that they have caused hurt. It really doesn’t make us weak, or less, or give others any power over us. In fact, it reminds everyone, including us, that we are human and that we feel. It is no secret that if you prick us, we will all bleed. 

But yet so many of us tend to keep so much of ourselves hidden, even the wonderful things that make us who we are. Some of us may feel that people will like us more if they only see certain sides of us. Some feel that they don’t want to be seen as ‘soft’ or ‘sensitive’ or even ‘too emotional’. We keep a lot of our “mushy” stuff hidden for fear that we may scare others away. 

Life is too short for regrets though. Perhaps we should all start baring a bit more of our undersides to others. Maybe if we started to share more of ourselves, the world would become a less complicated place. While filters are good (and we should definitely think before we speak and say something hurtful), maybe we need to filter a bit less and love a bit more. 

What if we all focused this Christmas season on telling others how much we care about them? What if we spread peace, love, and joy by sharing more of ourselves? 

Maybe we don’t have to keep so much of ourselves a secret. Even those things that we perceive as flaws can be intriguing and captivating to others. 

Perhaps we should be more like the Christmas tree – shining bright, beautiful in our own way for all to see, from no matter what angle. 

Is Your Life The Perfect Storm? (K.Blais)

Have you ever thought about your life as the perfect storm? Let’s think about it for a moment.

A “perfect storm” describes an event where a rare combination of circumstances aggravate a situation drastically. (Wikipedia)

Has there ever been a time or times in your life where you have thought that nothing else could possibly go wrong and then something else did? Have you wondered and/or had regrets about the choices you have made? Have you ever wished that you had tried a little harder, done something else that may have made things somehow different than they are right now?

Many of us have had regrets, have wished for “do-overs”, or have yearned for the road less travelled. But consider this: perhaps everything that has happened to us, the good, the bad, and the ugly, has all come together to make the perfect storm which is now our life.

The ‘perfect storm’ is a bit of an oxymoron if you think about it and consider its true definition. There is nothing perfect about a storm which creates a calamitous situation, other than that the storm is the perfection of the elements which came together to create it.

I considered this as I drove home tonight. Maybe our lives are each the perfect storm in their own way because our lives are themselves “the powerful combined effect of a unique set of circumstances” like the actual phenomenon itself.

In my own self-reflecting, I considered that perhaps I have experienced betrayal and hurt from those I thought would always support me because I was meant to reach out to others who I would learn would stand by me to ride all the waves in the ocean.

Perhaps it was supposed to be that I would find myself needing to search for ways to improve the quality of my health and my lifestyle and in that search I would find a new friend and establish a great support system with others.

Perhaps the things that have happened in which I have felt wronged, attacked, slighted, or ignored, have all happened so that my own self confidence and self awareness would grow.

Maybe we are meant to lose or suffer loss somewhat in life – our jobs, our dignity, our friends, our loved ones, in order that our situation becomes aggravated enough that we are driven to change. Maybe we are meant to lose so that the storm pushes us in the direction where we can win.

Perhaps we fight, we battle, we live, we learn through all the negative and aggravating experiences in our life so that they all come together to build us into the people who we are today. If we consider it this way, then we need the negative, the bad, and the ugly, to allow us to grow and to ‘perfect’ ourselves.

All of our experiences combine themselves into the rare and unique set of circumstances which God has intended to be our life. While in most contexts anything described as the ‘perfect storm’ is most likely to have severe and negative consequences, if we think of our life as a series of factors and components which have shaped us and formed us, then maybe we can realize that our own chaotic lives are perfect storms indeed.