The Eye of the Storm

I was attending a meeting at The Healing Garden the other week when people’s phones started jangling, indicating a tornado watch and instructing us to seek shelter.

We conferred with one another, learned that there was a basement with chairs, and decided to continue our meeting there. We set up chairs as closely gathered as possible, though scattered around folded up tables, pieces of equipment and poles.


We had arrived at the part of the meeting when one woman was going to demonstrate a meditative One Blessing. She found a working outlet, and we were soon listening to soothing, quiet music. For the next 20 minutes this is all we heard as the presenter approached each person in turn and quietly transferred her positive focus and feeling.


This was meant to be an oasis of calm in our day, a pause, highlighted by the possibility of a literal whirlwind up above to accompany the torrential rain the storm was bringing.


The layers of metaphor circled outward. I had already dubbed this part of my summer the Eye of the Storm. This was primarily a reference to my two daughters and the place in their lives. Right at that moment, they were counselors at their respective camps, a known quantity with positive associations. I could see them in their roles through mid-August.


After that, it was not clear what country either of them would inhabit. Kate had decided to apply to colleges in Scotland, willing to turn in her acceptance at ConnecticutCollege in favor of studying abroad for four years. We were waiting on the one college whose test entry requirements did not immediately exclude her from consideration. If accepted at St. Andrews for the fall, we would start shopping immediately upon her return from camp. If not, she would need to decide what her next year will look like, probably from the comfort of the living room.


Gale, now graduated with her master in teaching, was applying to jobs in Mexico and Columbia. Interesting posts, one in an Arts and Literacy program, one at an NGO that supports peace in Columbia. If neither of these come through she, too, will likely start constructing her next year from the cozy couch.


I’m trying to keep my anxiety at a manageable roar. These are not my decisions; they are not my plans, but I am affected at every turn. The planner in me is screaming for resolution and a desire to KNOW where my children will be. How did we get here, and what part did I play?


They were not supposed to be gallivanting across the globe, were they? I was recounting my tale to a friend who I have known since before my marriage. She laughed. Laughed, I tell you!! “Sounds like Meg squared or Meg cubed,” she joked. Hmph. I supposed that was true. Travel was at the top of my list of things to do for a number of years. It was where my money went for years after college. I understood the need to see other places and experience other cultures. But both daughters were taking this theme further than I. Longer amounts of time, farther away, more frequent. Hey! I like having them where we can get together, share a meal, have a laugh, listen to music. This is much more challenging when they are 3,500 miles away.


Yes, there is Skype and Facebook, Internet, blah blah. That does not replace seeing their faces in person, a real hug or baking together.


Evidently, I want it all. I want them to have the freedom to roam, to travel, and absorb all that they seek. And I want them close enough to wrap my arms around. Looks like my airline bill is going up soon.


I returned to the room where we were surfacing from our meditation. People started venturing outside to get to the next event on their calendars. I found a message expressing concern about the rain and highway conditions and decided to go home instead of returning to work 25 miles away. There will be time to explore and learn about the changes ahead. For now, I can sit in the calm and wait.

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About Meg

Meg is a licensed independent clinical social worker with over thirty-five years clinical experience. She holds a Master’s Degree from the Boston University School of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Binghamton.