I grew up in Michigan. We laugh about it being the state where you can experience all 4 seasons in one season- sometimes in one day. The temperature was in the 30’s yesterday morning and by the mid day it was in the 70’s. Did I mention that we are a few days shy of November? This morning as I type, it is literally storming. Hard rain. Blowing winds. Thunder. Lightening. You just never really know. Last Winter, we broke the Michigan record for inches of snowfall. It was crazy. You could barely go outside at times and driving- well you did it at your risk… and that’s saying something, as we Michiganders know how to drive in snow.
Growing up in Michigan has taught me to 1. Stay prepared for anything. Keep an umbrella, boots, mittens, sunglasses, a sun visor, blankets (for an outdoor picnic or to keep you warm when it unexpectedly turns chilly), some great snacks, flashlights (with fresh batteries) and a fully charged cell phone with you at all times. It’s tough being caught off guard without the things you need to enjoy or survive the season. 2. Embrace the moment. Nothing like walking the beautiful campus of Michigan State University enjoying a delicious ice cream cone from MSU Dairy or sitting on Lake Michigan- drinking a Faygo Pop, looking over the glistening waters on a warm day at South Haven or perhaps dancing in the rain, or snuggled in your bed (perhaps hiding scared under the covers) enjoying the sounds and blasts of thunder & lightning or standing in awe at the first signs of snow- all in the same week. Ha! Don’t live a life of “brace yourself”. Loosen up a little and embrace it all. Breathe it in. In every season there is something to learn, experience and yes, even enjoy. 3. Tough it out. When hard weather hits, dig your heals in and tough it out. If you’re stuck inside (maybe without power), make the best of it. My Mom would perform monologues to entertain us. When your basement is flooded from the rain, face the mess and get to cleaning. When your journey is rocky and hindered by Michigan potholes, make sure you take care of your vehicle and keep watch on your alignment. When the sky drops a foot of snow and your snow blowers gives out, grab the shovel and join the neighbors outside. When the tree falls on your house, take the steps needed to remove the tree and fix the damage. Yeah, you’ll gripe, cry, get angry, get tired… but then you’ll do what needs to be done. 4. Hang on. Michiganders know that no situation or climate will ever define us. It’s going to change at any given moment. Just when you think one climate has settled in, another one will enter. The darkened sky that brought the record number of rain that flooded your basement will soon turn to a beautiful blue sky right before the temperature drops to freeze your butt off. Our outer circumstances are temporary. We are not our outer circumstances. It is that which is within us that defines us. 5. Be resilient. Michiganders know how to bounce back and come back stronger then before. It may take a little time but we face adversity and deal with the stressors of change. We pull ourselves together. We patch up our roads, help our neighbors in whatever way possible and we recover, often at the astonishment and disbelief of onlookers.
It’s sort of like life, you know. The climate of our lives can change at the drop of a hat. Stormy situations that brought grief, unemployment, rebellious teens- those dark days that ushered in betrayal, isolation, foreclosures, bankruptcies, bad grades,… those seasons that made us cold or sent us running scared to hide our heads under the covers can and will change to seasons of opportunities, happiness, abundance, joy, new friendships, growth, … Stay prepared, embrace the moment, tough it out, hang on and be resilient. Take it from me, a Michigander.
Until next time,