As I am writing this late in the afternoon the Sunday before you will read it, the sun, which was shining brightly only a few minutes ago, is now hidden behind a cloak of angry clouds. The house, which had grown warm with the mix of heat and humidity, is suddenly cooled, and the grumbling of thunder is in conflict with the scene outside my window. Unbeknownst to our dogs, a doe and her fawn are sweetly nibbling around a Norway spruce and black walnut tree. They are the calm in the storm that is nearly upon us.

Life is not always either the crashing waves of challenges or the peaceful serenity of calm seas. Sometimes it is both. The turmoil that rides in on the wake of traumatic events can be matched with the recognition of blessings — the peaceful knowing that this too shall pass. Things may never be the same again, but they will get better, and sometimes the better is a world we never even dreamed of.

And the storm is now upon our little home. The lightning is in perfect timing with the sound of the thunder – no time to count; it is upon us. The dogs are pacing and I’m wondering where the doe and her fawn have sought shelter. The rain is coming down with a fury as if determined it will not be overshadowed by the cacophony of thunder and the fracturing lightning.

The evening is creeping in and I’m painfully aware that another weekend has passed. Tomorrow morning, another week of commuting will begin again. But this week will be different. It will be shorter and yet one of the longest. It will be a week I have long awaited. For this is the week that I will undergo a surgery to correct some issues that have been causing me pain longer than I can remember. It’s funny to be more frightened by the oncoming event than I am by the flashes of lightning that seem to be striking so near our home. The noise of the fear is just as loud in my head as the thunder outside, but somewhere mixed in the chaos of emotions is a quiet and calm voice that whispers that this will be worth the pain of the surgery and recovery.

How ironic to celebrate the fruit of the labor of surgery and recovery when the nation joins in recognizing Labor Day this coming weekend. I have many memories of the long weekend spent with family and friends staying up late, laughing, resting and relaxing while wrapped in the luxurious freedom of one day free from deadlines. But this year, I will spend the holiday more quietly. When Monday rolls around with no commute, my holiday will be spent celebrating a different kind of freedom from labor. Whatever labor fills your days, Dear Reader, I wish for you a Labor Day to enjoy and be free from the loud waves of challenges and instead immersed in the peaceful, quiet ripples of serenity.

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