It was a dark and stormy night.* The winds were blowing all night long, reaching gusts of more than 50 mph. Outside I could hear the howling and rustling that came with the storm. I figured a house was going to fall any minute! Even the windows were rattling periodically. But through it all, I also heard the lovely melodic tones of my neighbor’s wind chimes. They were persistent, just like the winds, but had a calming, soothing effect. By morning, the winds has lessened enough to hardly be noticed. And the chimes once again became silent sentries, offering only a occasional note reaching beyond its own patio walls.
But another storm had been brewing over night as well. I was struggling with some personal problems, trying to decide how to address some truly negative, stress-producing communication. Trusted friends reminded me of a lesson I always knew but too frequently forgot: Don’t let the negative in. It is within my control what I would take to heart and respond to. The internal storm could be stopped simply by refusing to listen. Or rather, by choosing to focus on the beautiful chimes and melodies coming my way from trusted friends and loved ones.
I thought again about the wind chime that had kept me company throughout the literal storm. Those chimes are always there, but only heard when I really stopped to listen, when I needed them to get through the night. When I needed the positive focus on harmony and solace, I found it in the chimes. Just as I found it in the advice of good friends. Maybe I will finally learn this lesson: It is up to me to calm my own storms.
*NOTE: Sorry. It really was a dark and stormy night. This is not an entry into the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. For a treat, check out the website, especially if you are not aware of this bad-writing opportunity: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/