During the 1980’s, Gary and I lived in the great state of Oklahoma for two and a half years. He was stationed at Tinker Air Force Base while I completed my Bachelor’s of Music Education at the University of Oklahoma. We truly loved it in Oklahoma because Oklahomans are some of the friendliest people we’ve ever met.
I have to admit that because I am from Utah where weather changes occur in an expected manner, the fickleness of Oklahoma weather unnerved me at first. I should have realized what it would be like when the realtor that helped us find our first apartment said, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a little bit. It will change.”
Yes, the weather changed. In fact, it changed so rapidly that I quickly learned to carry an umbrella with me everywhere I went.
I learned that changes in the weather are appreciated in Oklahoma. Umbrellas are required because one never knows when a rainstorm will arrive. But, rainstorms are the lifeblood of the area and so they are welcomed. The people there don’t rely on irrigation to water their lawns and agriculture, as we do in Utah. Oklahoma relies on rain and when a drought hits the state, it is a serious matter.
As I began to appreciate this fact, I realized that, sometimes, events that appear at first glance to be negative are actually blessings. Sure, it is a terrible thing when a tornado rolls up Oklahoma. People are rightfully afraid of them. But, it is the same volatility of the weather that sometimes spawns hailstones and tornados that brings great, soaking rainstorms to make the state green.
Isn’t this how our lives are? The stormy times in our lives bring forth the most fruit. While we don’t enjoy life-tornados, the whirling about straightens us out. Illness teaches us to appreciate good health. Financial storms teach us to celebrate times of plenty. When we lose love or friendship, we begin to understand how valuable relationships are. When we suffer, we gain compassion for others, losing judgmental feelings that separate us from our true selves. When we face the limits of mortality, we appreciate the fact that our lives are meaningful.
The funny thing about change is that when we stop trying to keep ourselves still, we open the door to deep, meaningful improvements in our lives. We begin to understand that everything in this life is transitory. We discover that if we don’t like the weather of our current experience, we just be patient because just as surely as the moon spins around the earth, change will arrive to thrust us into something new.
Sometimes, I dream that I am still in Oklahoma, listening to the sound of a thunderstorm roll across the state. But then, I wake up and realize that it was the sound of change rolling through my life that I heard in my ears.
What will happen next? Only God knows. But whatever might come, it will be a change. Change… something you can count on.