I respect storms. My elementary school in Alabama had weather-related emergency drills and more than one close call. Our human instinct to pull together as a community and rebuild inspires me, but writing articles about tornadoes for an Illinois magazine and an insurance company’s internal publication also increased my appreciation for weather bulletins.
Someone called this week with plenty of warnings and advice about storms headed for Georgia. Like storms, advice can be tricky. The idea to buy a bicycle helmet struck me as excessive until the person explained their household had upgraded to football helmets. For protection, you understand. Not for sports.
To each his or her own, I said, and thanks for your concern. No helmet for me. I swallowed the instinct to suggest losing the helmets or to ask if they would be wearing them on afternoon walks as well.
About an hour later, cleaning my kitchen, I wondered…Do I have helmets?
When do I hold my breath or hold back? How do I try to outsmart pain, to “play it safe,” too safe, in my own precious life? The answers are illuminating and personal, and insight will grow each time I ask myself those questions.
The best wisdom we can ever receive is often packaged in the words we feel inspired to tell others, and sometimes our advice is really just a holy invitation to take better care of ourselves.
Instead of asking my caller to discard those helmets, I must find ways to toss out my own restrictive, overzealous attempts to self-protect. The fences we build to insulate us from danger can also block the most beautiful views.
I offer this advice to you, because I need to hear it: Relax. Let go. TRUST LIFE.