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Storms have always scarred me. Thunderous clashing, violent bolts shaking the earth. The loudness hurts my ears, and the memories hurt my heart. During the pouring calmness of the rain or the magnificent brightness of the silent lightening — I find myself remembering and smiling.
For that brief moment, I am at peace with the storm.
For that brief moment, my heart is happy.

When I was ten years old, The entire McEllin family took a vacation to Missouri.
Grandma and Grandpa, aunts, uncles, mom, dad and cousins. We rented 4 cabins along the lake and spent 5 days swimming, fishing, boating, sight seeing — the works.

One night the clouds rolled in.
Mom made dinner and assured me the storm would pass soon. After hearing thunder in the distance, I went to bed with an uneasiness about me. An hour later, the house shook with the roar of thunder.
I was awake and terrified. My pillow was wet with tears.
I was too frightened to move. My mom entered the room and told me Grandpa wanted to see me. She ushered me into the front room. A quick glance around the tiny room and there was no Grandpa in sight.

Mom point just beyond the porch doors. In the dark of the storm, I see the glow of Grandpa’s cigarette. He is outside on the porch and wants me to join him.
I am nervous.
The thunder is softer now. There is still much lightening and rain.
I stand in the door way and open the sliding door.

Grandpa puts out the cigarette and pulls me to his lap. He will protect me. I feel safe.

His soft words calm me. Grandpa begins to tell me that storms should not be feared, but admired.
Just then an enormous bolt of lightening illuminates my world. All at once I can see a row of cabins, boats safely tucked away in the docks. I see tiny ripples made by rain drops in the pool. The park swings swaying – slightly disturbed by the storm. I see the night sky reflected on the lake’s surface. I see my Grandpa smiling at the beauty of nature.
I am calm.
I am safe.

Flash after Flash, I take in the pure magic of the once terrifying event. Some bolts are quick and jagged, other are long and full of life. I admire. A distant thunder echoes the art of the lightening.
I sit and listen to the conversation of night.
I am with Grandpa. I am protected.
I am happy.

I learn to appreciate the beauty of the storm. Later that night, Grandpa brings be back to bed. I have made my peace with the passing storm. I sleep soundly, knowing I am protected.

Although storms can still give me a sense of uneasiness, when I take the time to admire the beauty of it all, I am comforted. I remember my special night with Grandpa and I am no longer nervous. My memories keep me protected.
My fears turn to peace. I am happy.