Finding Calm in the Storm at Concourse C

by Melodie on April 16, 2010

© Just Us 3

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I lay in the dark as lightning cracked and waves of thunder rolled through our mountain valley. Soon I heard the padding of feet that stopped beside the bed.

 “Mom, I’m scared of the storm,” my then seven-year-old daughter, Miss M, whispered. I lifted the blankets so she could crawl in next to me, and together we listened to the lashing rain against the windows.

Her trembling stopped, and she whispered, “Do you remember when we were at that place with the glass roof in a storm?” Peering out into the dark room, I searched my mind: the botanical garden? A mall?

 “No,” she said. “We were waiting for our plane.”

 Then I remembered. The previous summer, my two children and I flew cross-country with a layover at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. We had taken an evening flight, and I was exhausted from a busy schedule and a bad cold. Flight delays began as a severe weather front moved in. So I took Miss M and Magoo to play at the airport’s indoor playground before we headed to Concourse C to wait for our flight.

 The terminal’s clear glass top arched high above our seats, giving us a full view of the storm that raged above. Bolts of lightning, winds whipping against luggage wagons and grounded airliners, peals of thunder — we could see and hear it all. (I’m glad we didn’t know about the tornadoes that touched down nearby until later.) Miss M hunkered in next to me, and we pulled out the Uno game, the Polly Pocket dolls and action figures, and the electronic games.

 By 2 a.m., the storm had calmed, and the loud speaker called our flight to board for Boston.

 “Mom,” Miss M looked up at me, beaming. “I stayed calm through the whole storm!”

 Now, snuggled together to wait out another tempest, Miss M had remembered her previous victory over fear. As her breathing slowed into sleep, I lay awake thinking what valuable lessons she had to share with me – and you.

 There are a couple things I learned from my daughter.

 1. When I’m fearful, I can draw strength and confidence from past successes in overcoming anxiety. We all have past points that we can look to and say, “I was at my best in handling that situation.” When was one of those times for you? If you overcame your fear then, be assured that you can do it again now, even if the circumstance is different.

 2. In times of fear, I can try actions that have worked for me in the past. In Miss M’s case, she overcame her anxiety through companionship, distraction and positive self-talk. She snuggled in with someone she loved, let herself be distracted by playing with games and toys, and told herself she could get through this trying time. Think back to times of fear in the past. What helped you calm your raging emotions? Can you practice those actions now in the face of fear?

 I’ve always thought that one of the benefits of growing older is that we have many more rich experiences on which to draw to strengthen ourselves. But my daughter taught me that you’re never too young to find a source of calm in a storm.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mom April 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm

What good encouragement. More special to me because I can “see” my granddaughter. But it occurred to me that one could substitute in the place of fear, other struggles that we may face. One could substitute anger. Or discouragement. Or drivenness. Thanks, Melodie.

2 Melodie April 19, 2010 at 1:22 pm

So true. Sometimes comments like “Leave the past behind you” can do us a disservice because we don’t look back to see what we can learn from it. What helped us in times of fear, anger, discouragement, etc., in the past can definitely benefit us as we face today’s challenges — if we let it.

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