Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Life's Film

Sometimes we forget that while we are having experiences and making memories, others--friends, family and strangers alike--are having a completely different experience at the exact same time. This became again apparent to me when I read my friend's blog post. It was one of those "ah-ha" moments that still has not left me. It sits in my heart and mind, bringing up waves of emotion, still being processed.

If you read my post about my day long celebration last Friday, the following story is what I am referring to. If you haven't read it, here is where you can find it.

Last Friday, March 2nd, Indiana and Kentucky were hit with some devastating tornados. These twisted winds took lives, ruined businesses and homes, and changed people's lives forever. Two such people are dear to my heart; they are Katrina Willis and her wonderfully sensitive daughter, Mary Claire.

Katrina is not only a friend with a larger than life personality, a woman with a open heart, but also a brilliant writer. You can find her blog here, which will take you to her story about her and her daughter's personal experience with the tornados.

I had briefly talked about my fear of the storm sirens here in Indiana. You see, I grew up in central Virginia. We may have storm sirens, but I have never heard them. We never had anything but fire drills in school. I knew about tornados from books, news reports, and "The Wizard of Oz." I was very far removed from the threat and understanding of the fear that coincides with tornados.

Fast forward now to 2008, when I experienced my first spring/storm season in Indiana. The sirens start to wale as my kids are in bed and my husband and I are sitting on the couch watching TV. Warnings spread across the TV screen as our show is interrupted. Jason seems calm, barely batting an eye. I start launching questions at him like a game show host in a speed round. He sort of chuckles and says, "Chill out, this happens every year. The sirens go off and it usually amounts to a bad storm and the media looking to freak you out." Well, way to go media, it worked. They are talking about gusting, swirling winds. They are showing their Doppler Viper 2000, fancy-schmancy weather tracking system. The color splotches indicating rain, hail, and spiraling are all over the map. I keep getting up and looking outside. I am terrified and constantly asking if we should get the kids and go to the basement. He remains calm amidst the storm. He tells me a tornado is not going to hit us. We are going to just get a bad storm. Now each year, come spring, take that visual and repeat.

Now back to Friday with the sirens going at full decibel. My friend and I were changing clothes in order to go have a late lunch. I stay calm, turn on the TV and of course, look out the window. The skies are dark and ominous. I decided I was going to take on Jason's role this time, instead of the the scared southern girl. I tell my friend that it will hit barely south of us, but that we are in the clear. Looks like, once again, a bad thunderstorm. I get a call from school that the kids may be kept late because of the storm. I am thinking of my little loved ones hunkered down, with their hands over their heads, and hope that they are not scared at school. I was wishing that I could scoop them up and hold them, but I also know that they are safe. I call my mother-in-law, who was set to pick them both up from school since I was having a day with my friend. I relay the school's message and tell her that I will let her know of any other information that I may receive. So, off we go to eat, drink and be merry.

Each of us is essentially living out our own movie. Our lives are one gigantic roll of film. We create the film based on decisions that we make every second of the day. While I was blessed enough to be creating a film that included Mexican food and laughs with a friend, Katrina and her daughter's film was much different.

Mine and my kids brief interruption of the day and quick dose of fright was nothing compared to Katrina's day. She and her daughter endured real fear. Fear that they may die. Fear that they may get scooped up in that swirling mass that Mother Nature decided to throw at us, at them. Fear that they may never see their friends and family again. Holding hands, hoping and praying that their film would continue on for years to come and not become edited--fading out to blackness. I am so glad that her angels intervened and that she listened to the whispers in her head.

Not only was my day playing out different from theirs, but even Katrina and her daughter would forever view this day differently. Katrina and Mary Claire were experiencing their horror film together, but if you were able to play back a film from each of their perspectives, you would see both similarities and differences. We each have our own experiences, but the feelings and memories that we associate with that "same" experience could in fact be extremely different. Sounds, sights, feelings, and stories running through one's head are each one's own.

So, as we move through life and continue to create scenes in our own lives, don't forget that others around you are creating their own, perhaps very different, scenes. Scenes blending together to create the film of one's life and entirety. Films that can touch your heart. Films that make you more aware of our own many blessings. Films that make you thankful, perhaps grateful and maybe even films that make you angry or jealous. These films are life, real people with feelings and experiences all rolled up into a human being, a person-me, you, the person sitting next to you in the theatre.

I thank the universe for my film, for it has made me who I am today....no editing needed.

Source-  Rotunda
Source - Storm photo
Source- Tornado photo

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