How Do Bad Experiences Shape Us

It has been a few months since I’ve blogged about a topic. Last Night, rather 2 am I was in the bed, hubby to be on the computer, the movie Twister played on television. Immediately it brought me back to a life altering traumatic event that happened to me and my nephew Max then one year, now four.

I’ve lived in the land of tornado’s my entire life, I’ve watched them out the window and on the top of my godfathers house balcony knowing at our elevation kept us out of the path of their destruction.
But not this time. In reflection there was nothing we could do to avoid being in the eye of the storm. When you’re twenty minutes from town in any direction and there is farm land as far as the eye can see, it presents a compounded issue. With no outlets when a radio transmission urges you to find shelter to avoid life threatening hail only the hand of God can save you.

Sure I pray for others, rarely for myself, and I’m a spiritual person. That day I prayed harder than I’ve ever prayed in my life. We were not the only vehicle out on that highway with nowhere to run. But we happened to be in Betsy our 1991 conversion van, bucket seats, windows with the vinyl accordion like blinds, made of pure metal.

While cars were breaking apart around us made of plexiglass we were spared.
Sheeting rain, turned to sleet, small particles of hail turned to golf ball size, followed by softball size. Our windshield spidered with the first hit. Windows on the driver side shattered if not huge gaping holes.

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But it was the sound that terrified me the most. The pounding, denting of my van from large hail made deadly from gravity and trajectory force of impact. A real lesson in the laws of physics for teens. Forty minutes of hearing it crash over us and on us. The way the sky turned dark in seconds as the storm picked up. While my baby nephew thought it was a fun game,(thank goodness) I knew there was a huge chance we’d die out there. No way for me to call home and make sure that my kids were in the basement. No way to say I love you one last time.

Jerry the guy driving, an ex beau found a cluster of trees and drove the under them. I was already laying on Max with the bucket seat over us completely covered by upholstery.Through the trees we saw a barn and a house. When it let up he ran to see if anyone was home and there was. He came back for us and we were able to ride out the rest of it.I was able to call home and tell the kids take the emergency radio with the built-in flash light down to the basement and sit still til I called them again.Luckily we’re a family that does fire drills and tornado drills, so they weren’t scared, it was a normal occurence for them.
It took me three years to recover. Year one anxiety pills every time a storm hit. Inability to drive because I became a hazard to others, slamming on breaks during simple rain.

Triggers are a funny thing. You never know what will trigger them. Now I drive, I’m not under the bed when hail hits the house, fear doesn’t control me, I finally control it.

How do fears shape us?
Either they snuff out the life we could have outside of fear or we face them head on realizing that nothing is promised and bad crap happens for no reason. We learn to live by faith and take it day by day.


About mahalia2010

Mother, Sister, Friend, Author

Posted on January 9, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Hales, how incredibly terrifying. I know we all have things happen that hurt or frighten us, but I can’t begin to imagine what you went through. And how brave you were to be able to leave it behind.

  2. What a great reminder that we shouldn’t let fear suck the LIFE out of our lives. Thank you!

  3. Oh, Hales, what a horrible thing to go through. I’ve heard of even worse stories though. In Topeka, a woman’s house was blown, and she was found in a tree without any clothes on a mile away. I have a feeling she never got over the whole thing.

  4. I grew up in the Midwest and am very familiar with tornadoes. Absolutely hate that kind of weather, which is why I moved to Cali as soon as I could. Here, earthquakes are a problem, but not that frequent. I definitely believe bad experiences shape us, especially when we’re very young and feel powerless. That’s why good parenting is essential in giving kids a sense that they have some power in their world.

  5. You’re absolutely right, Hales, we should never let fear rule our lives. Excellent blog.

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