Riding/Chasing the Storm, Samantha Hall and reality…


Thoughts at bedtime. Taken, verbatim, from a journal entry:

A few days ago, sheltering in the Eye of the Storm, I wrote a post which expressed, in metaphorical form, much of my current life.

The piece was based around a thought which grows ever-stronger in my mind – and is given clarity and courage by my state of aloneness: The only thing, ultimately, that can heal an open wound is time. You cannot stitch it or hide it with plasters. All the genuine religious faith/spiritual search in the world will not knit the skin together one second quicker. Distraction merely delays the pain briefly. The pain is there to be experienced. It is real, an integral part of the grief and loss and change process. It cannot be avoided or glossed over – and, if banked, the debt (with interest) always has to be settled in the end.

I used the analogy of a storm (an image which presented itself insistently). You cannot run away from it or make it go away. You can hide, but that is no guarantee of safety. Eventually, either as Rider or Chased, you face that storm.

Sometimes we have to face the fact that nothing can ameliorate the effects of trauma – and just look it in the eye and say, ‘I am ready to ride this one out…’

Later, I found a programme (a very moving one on YouTube) entitled ‘The Butterfly and the Tornado’, all about Sam Hall (a funny, feisty woman with EBEpidermolysis Bullosa – who, along with her brother, Keith, went over to the USA to chase storms). The pain and difficulty her butterfly skin (and insides) caused her was not glossed over. But her spirit sparkled and flew.


We spend inordinate amounts of time trying to avoid pain, don’t we? I know I do. We gather our talismans, mumble our mantras, ask our god or goddess of choice to intervene, try and meddle with the pain signals using our minds…

…but perhaps it is better to do as Sam Hall does: Bandage up the worst of it, accept the pain and limp with it and then, exulting, weeping, triumphant and compassionate, go chase and ride the Wedge Tornado of the Soul.

I saw Sam Hall’s decisions concerning storms – and her wondrous joy, excitement and moving care for others – as an apt metaphor for her own condition, and her unique way of handling the cards with which she had been dealt: Her act of driving willingly, and radiantly, into the worst weather systems  the gods could hand out seemed, to me, to show all that is best, and closest to the Divine, in human nature.

We are not obliged to pretend it does not hurt, nor to adopt the latest fad which celebrities swear will banish all ills for good. All our humanity requires from us is to put one halting foot forward; to take the next step (however tiny) despite the pain; to weep and, in some cases, bleed and seep, and then get back into the car and carry on.


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