The weather where we live is stormy and windy and gloomy today.
A lot of people are afraid of severe weather, and I understand it. It does property damage, which beyond being scary and anxiety inducing, who wants to deal with insurance companies and repair contractors? Loud thunder, bright lightning, emergency sirens, and the threat of tornadoes keep people awake, and terrify children and pets and even some adults.
But as inconvenient and potentially frightening as it is, a part of me loves weather like this.
The first year J and I were together, he took me on a road trip to visit his best friend on the Gulf Coast. The trip was planned for weeks, and a few days before our scheduled departure, Hurricane Frances threatened the region where we were staying. We went anyway. He drove the entire way with no traffic while the opposing side of the expressway was bumper to bumper to get out of the area we were driving into. It was humorous and oddly enjoyable, spending so much time together in the car, but the lack of traffic also made it eerie. On arrival, we had a great two days in the most gorgeous, comfortable weather I’d ever experienced that far south (the proverbial calm before the storm). And then the winds started. Power in our hotel went out. We went to stay with J’s friend and his girlfriend at their home. Then THEIR power went out. So we decided we’d cut our losses and head home. J drove all the way in two straight days of driving rain and wind, stopping overnight to rest at a hotel hours inland, where the parking lot flooded overnight. Rain from the hurricane was even affecting parts of where WE live, so the rain never gave J a break. I remember him saying, ‘When we get to the top of Georgia, the rain will let up…’ And then, ‘When we get to the top of Tennessee, the rain will let up…’ And, ‘When we get to <city>, the rain will let up…’ When we reached a certain point north, and it was still raining, J said, ‘Call your brother and see if it’s still raining at HOME.’
What a terrible vacation, right? Wrong.
For that entire trip, I didn’t see all the plans that didn’t happen because of weather. All I could see were repeated demonstrations that J 1. was so proud of me, nothing would stop him from introducing me to his best friend 2. wanted to make me happy, and my smiles on the good days and in the long car ride, and my admiration of him for taking me made the things that weren’t working out as he’d hoped worth it, and most importantly 3. was doggedly determined to make sure I was always safe and comfortable.
J’s told me since that he’d planned to propose on that trip, but the hurricane threw a wrench in his mechanics. If it had been the flawless, romantic trip he’d envisioned, I’m sure I’d have accepted his proposal, but even if he asked me in the powerless dark with no air conditioning, or standing in the drenching rain, I’d have said, ‘yes.’ I’m actually glad we got such a big dose of stormy weather at our beginning. That trip showed me everything about the man J is, in spotlighted detail. He is still that man, after all of these years together. And he’s the reason I’m never afraid of stormy weather.