Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev/

Learn & Grow From the Thunderstorms

 by Kimberly McGuiness

We each have our own feelings and mental picture about thunderstorms. Whether it’s the love of sitting on the front porch listening to the thunder roll across the mountains or the cracking of the whip as the electric beauty dances through the sky, our love or dislike for the storm and the greatness of its strength are powerful. As the power and energy from the storm passes we are left with the rain gently nourishing the tiniest of life all around us as we take in a deep breath, as we think to ourselves, we made it, we made it through the storm.

This can also be applied in our daily lives. We all have a range of storms in our lives. Some are nourishing gentle rains. Some are the ups and downs of the thunder rolling across the hills. While others are full blown downpours and all that can accompany the energy of the storm, the electric energy, the wind, the thunder and worst yet, a tornado or hurricane. Each of us travels through storms in our lives. These storms are in our personal and business relationships, and are also encountered as we make our way through the routine of each day. Some storms can be more intense than others, but, I believe, we must perhaps take a look at the outcome and choose to learn and grow from the storms in our lives, because of course nothing happens without reason.

When we can choose to grow from our storms we can help people believe again, be positive, and to be nourishing to themselves and others. Yes, it’s a mindset, but, yet again, we have to choose the mindset which best moves us forward in a positive direction, when we do, we learn, we grow, from what we may have just gone through. Should we not choose this, then what will we choose and when?

I’ve been through some storms in my life which made me feel like my world was coming to an end. It wasn’t what I was walking towards that scared me; it was what I was walking away from. This took me some time, but I learned I wanted to be around people who had the powerful ability and enthusiasm to help me move forward positively.
No matter what the challenge(s) in your life right now, always, be the best you, you can be. Knowledge is power and enthusiasm pulls the switch. Remember the toughest time is just before you break through the clouds. Learn and grow from the thunderstorms that come and go through your life. You will survive. You will move forward.

by Emily Perl Kingsley.
© 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.

Photography by Kimberly McGuiness 2010

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland. Emily Pearl Kingsley’s article has been widely circulated in support groups and medical circles. Please credit as follows: As published in “That All May Worship and Serve,” July, 2002, as published on the United Church of Christ Disabilities Ministries web site at welcome-to-holland/. Most recent contact information for Emily Pearl Kingsley: 12 Justine Ct., Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510-2534