What You Can Learn Living in the Eye of the Storm

Alyssa Silva avatar

by Alyssa Silva |

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Did you know that when buffalo sense a storm coming, they run into it?

I recently took a writing course, and the instructor shared this fascinating tidbit with us all. Most animals and humans alike seek shelter when we feel and see a storm brewing in the distance. Lightning strikes, and thunder claps. The earth feels like it’s shattering below us. It’s no wonder that a storm’s unpredictability can send us into a frenzy because we fear the kind of damage it can wreak. We fear the “what if.” What if there’s irreversible damage? What if things will never be the same? What if strength isn’t enough to endure what’s about to come?

Out of fear, we look for ways to protect ourselves. We hide from what seems scary and avoid what’s inevitable. We react naturally, but we act impulsively.

Storms are also another way of interpreting the pain we experience in our lifetimes. The “storms” of our lives are the moments in which we experienced the most devastation. They enter our lives when we least expect it and shake things up until we feel what seems like permanent damage. They’re the moments that knock us down and want to keep us there, lying helplessly in defeat. So, we run.

No matter how far or fast we run, however, the storm is inevitably going to happen. There’s nothing we can do to stop Mother Nature on her warpath, and the same goes for life. There is nothing in our power that we can do to stop the pain from coming. There is nothing we can do to avoid the storm.

As someone living with a terminal illness, I had to accept this reality at an early age. Living with SMA can sometimes feel like living in the eye of the storm. Its unpredictability can, at any given moment, destroy us. In an instance, our lives can be thrown upside down and shattered. The fragility of life with SMA makes even the weakest of storms destructive, leaving nothing but devastation in its path to remind us of how fragile and fleeting life truly is. Yes, it’s ugly. And, as often as we try to let the sunshine in, we know to always prepare ourselves to weather every storm.

I’m often amazed at the resiliency of the human spirit, especially those in the SMA community. And, if there’s one simple reminder or example that resiliency can serve us, it’s this.

Be a buffalo. Run straight into the storm, and let it rain down hard. Stand tall, and stand strong in the face of danger because although our storms will leave us with scars, scars are proof we’re doing the best we can. It’s proof that we’re fighting the fight and showing up to life with vigor, and there’s nothing that will deter us from doing so.

By choosing to weather the storm instead of running from it, we become stronger and wiser. We learn ways to cope with the everyday storms of our lives and recognize a special kind of strength that only our storms make possible to possess.

Although I’ve been told to soak in the sunshine, I’d much rather dance in the rain.


Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


Laurie Young avatar

Laurie Young

SMA is not a terminal illness. I have SMA 2 and I'm 48. I am not unique as I know many other middle age people with SMA.


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