A few years ago, following the BP Oil Spill, God sent an inspiration to me in the form of a beautiful sunset on the Bay of the Holy Spirit. The bay was renamed Mobile Bay from it’s original Spanish name, and I live on it. The sun tucked neatly behind a large dark cloud and rays of silver light shot out all around the cloud. Those silver linings reminded me of God’s presence in the midst of all the storms we face in life. As a result of this inspiration, I wrote a QR Book, The Silver Lining Principle, to provide a practical guide on how to deal with the storms of life we all face. I used the weather cycle as my metaphor since it dominates our culture on the Gulf Coast. The book was in a QR reader format, but the interviews were lost when the storage site went down. Luckily, or providentially, I kept my notes.
Given today’s socially distanced, pandemic driven world, I decided to share my insights in a series of blogs. I hope they will serve to help you find the peace I find through my daily readings and continued deck time on the Bay of the Holy Spirit.
Storms of Life
Claim – The storms of life are not the problem. We are!
Explain – We all have storms in our life both personally and professionally. Most storms are caused by our environment and beyond our control to avoid. However, some storms are self created and too often we choose to focus on the storm and not the lesson contained within each storm. What is amazing is that when we look for the lesson, not only does the storm pass sooner, but we emerge stronger. This is the silver lining! Like faith we have to believe it first to see it.
My personal storm involved a negative self perception; I did not see myself as an athlete. I left the storm filled Alabama Coast taking this internal storm cloud with me. I remained focused on the storm of high school failure. I never said it, but I felt like a loser in spite of my other accomplishments. I started jogging in college and lost my pudginess, yet I still saw myself as overweight and slow. I even ran the Boston Marathon while getting my MBA but still saw myself in the mirror as a chubby kid. This drove my behavior for 30 years as I “punished” myself through adult athletic competition. Only in my forties did I accept the reality that I was more fit and more mentally alert thanks to my years of disciplined training. Today that silver lining continues. I still wonder what would have happened had I known how to believe in my athletic ability before I saw it.
When the corona quarantine hit, I remembered this lesson. The local pools and sauna closed, completely destroying my normal workout routine. Looking at the storm, I saw my “silver lining.” I self-quarantined myself outside and went back to jogging. I started sharing my runs on my workout app, with my coach son, and Facebook as a means of motivation and social connecting. With headphones and knee pads, I slowly ventured out into the darkest hour, 5 am. My fear of falling, which resulted in a broken shoulder last summer, was quickly replaced with the quiet moonlit beauty of deserted streets. The result has been the best 10 days of running in 15 years, an increase in energy and loss of weight, and a renewed appreciation of Christian Contemporary Music and Podcasts.
NEXT - The Silver Lining Principle - Part 2