Surviving Tornadoes

Last Wednesday most people in Ottawa received a text alert that there was a Tornado Warning in Ottawa. And if you live in Ottawa or anywhere close by you’ll know, we don’t get Tornado Warnings much.

So Twitter was fun.

So many people were totally freaking out. Tweeting potential goodbye’s to family’s. Posting about hiding under their desks and panicking. The thing was, by the time that many people received the message, the storm was already past much of Ottawa. In my part of town it was sunny and calm. And yet people in our neighbourhood totally panicked.

But it’s not really their fault. I’m not saying anyone was stupid for freaking out, most people have never ever received a tornado warning. Two people that I know had a very different response. My wife, who grew up in Saskatchewan and witnessed quite a few tornadoes, and my sister, who lived in Mississippi for years, where hearing the tornado sirens go off isn’t uncommon at all.

Having witnessed and lived through real tornadoes, they knew the signs of when it’s not a tornado “warning” but a tornado is actually imminent, and they knew were weren’t experiencing any of them. So they were not worried at all. In fact they were able to calm down the people around them.

There are a lot of life experiences that are tough, scary, and difficult. But after we’ve lived through them, it actually helps us cope in the future. We can even use that experience to help other people calm down or know how to process difficult things.

I once had a friend who was rejected by the RCMP in his initial interview. The reason? Nothing bad had ever happened to him. They couldn’t trust that he knew had to handle difficult situations as a cop if he had no experience dealing with them in everyday life. Another friend of mine who had a difficult past was nervous he would be rejected in his interview, instead he was told “Perfect! You’ll be so much better at helping other people in rough situations”.

I’m not wishing bad things to happen to you. You know the saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?”. Well….that’s a stupid saying because as any wounded gazelle knows, sometimes what doesn’t kill you just weakens you so that you fall behind and get eaten first.

BUT, I do think about this. Sometimes getting shot with an arrow, means you just have another one to throw into your quiver to use later.

Maybe surviving your Tornadoes will help you help others survive theirs.

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