Chasing Tornadoes

i_believe_in_chasing_tornadoes_round_stickers-p217161373895334849en7l1_216One day, while living in Denver, Colorado, we heard that there was a tornado brewing in our area. This may seem like a big deal to you if you live somewhere else, but in Colorado tornadoes are a fact of life. I witnessed dozens of funnel clouds every year and often they would touch down, usually in a trailer park. God hates trailer parks. It’s not bad enough that you live in a home that can burn to ashes in four minutes. For some reason God has this habit of skipping houses with minivans and spanking the trailer folk.

Back to the true story. My wife is listening to the radio and she hears about this tornado heading right towards our neighborhood and she starts to get nervous, especially since my dad and I had gone for milk almost an hour ago and hadn’t gotten back. She started putting two and two together and started to shake her head and think to herself…. “they wouldn’t!”

Ok so my dad and I are cruising home from the Quickie Mart and we turn on the radio and we hear about this tornado heading right towards our neighborhood. We start to get excited. We had never seen a tornado from like, real close, and thought it would be cool to go looking for it. Actually it was my dad’s idea so that explains a lot about the kind of upbringing I had.

So here are two stupid Canadians in a Dodge Colt driving towards the tornado. We’re passing vans and cars and your basic fleeing mob going the other way. It was awesome, there was no traffic in our lane.

How close can you get to a tornado? It turns out you can get very close indeed. Fifty feet if you are stupid enough, or so I’ve heard. I blame my father. What kind of parent would let someone like me chase tornadoes?

The moral of the story is, Canadians are idiots. No, wait, that’s not it. The moral of the story is – it seemed like a good idea at the time. In retrospect, although it was still very cool, we were flirting with disaster.

At the time we believed we knew what we were doing.
At the time we thought we knew the score.
At the time.

When I was struggling with dark depression, at the time I felt I was making the best decisions for my future. At the time.

When I was lonely and horny and had no one to hold, at the time I thought I was making the right decisions for my life. At the time.

When you are struggling with mental health issues and chronic pain and fatigue and loneliness and stress and financial problems it is tempting to make decisions that feel right… at the time. Unfortunately few decisions that are made when we are at our worst turn out for our best. At these times most of us have lost our objectivity and the pain has sapped us of our motivation to do what is difficult. Very often what seems “like a good idea at the time” is in fact very detrimental to our future lives and we are unable to see it. In these moments we need to be very willing to accept the advice of those who love us and can see things more objectively. I have failed to take such at advice on occasion and have usually come to regret it.

Here are a few examples to leave you with:
listen1. When you are infatuated with your new romantic interest you probably do not see the whole picture; understand that you are not qualified to make long-term decisions at that moment.
2. When you are in love and people are screaming at you that your lover has big problems you need to listen to them because you are not being objective.
3. When you are depressed you will not make good decisions. Yes I mean you.
4. If you are at a vulnerable, hurting, or damaged place in your life if it feels good than chances are you shouldn’t do it.
5. Good advice rarely sounds good when you are in pain.
6. When you are struggling, depressed, or hurting, your inner voice will tell you to do things that are selfish, destructive, and short-sighted. Don’t listen to that voice.
7. If you think no one understands what you are going through you are probably right. Talk to someone.
8. Real change takes a ton of time and effort. Get-fixed-quick schemes don’t work in the long run. Ever.
9. Most of your friends are not qualified to give you advice. Remember that.
10. Get off the couch. Get out of bed. Open the curtains.
11. You will fail. Failure is an important part of getting better.
12. Ninety percent of success is just showing up, even when you don’t feel like it.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” 
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

5 thoughts on “Chasing Tornadoes

  1. This was awesome.I love your honesty. I can think of one person in particular who would gain so much from reading your words. I am sending this post to her today. I think you make an excellent point that when you are in pain and/or depressed- you are most likely not making great decisions. It is so wonderful to hear this honesty.

  2. I say “Don’t believe the lies” we tell ourselves when it’s depression talking, and to force ourselves to say “Yes” when all we want to do is say no. Nicely juxtaposed and presented here. I appreciate reading this today.

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