WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE between an imagined threat and a real life trauma as it unfolds? Notwithstanding the fact that we make too much of the imagined threats - scurrying prematurely - and we make not enough of the potential for real life traumas, we have much to gain from discerning the appearance and ferocity of the storm cavalcade.I call it a storm cavalcade because what thunders from the east corresponds with sleeting rain from the north; from the west is a blast of wind that sweeps us right off our feet.It is a cavalcade - a procession - an ongoing assault.Once a storm has whipped itself into a frenzy and come into our lives it is there for a time, and we may not have even seen it coming. We usually don't. We are blindsided.This is a humbling fact: any of us can be crushed in an instant. Life has a way of levelling us for a time - a season - and it can last a year or more.When we grant ourselves this truth we are astounded; what occurs in others' lives - to be blindsided by the death of a spouse, parent or child, or an earth-shattering accusation, or a divorce against our will - seems understandable... until such a grievous tragedy claws its way through our flesh, ripping us sinew from bone - shedding our blood everywhere.This is a graphic portrayal of what occurs inside - deeply within.What can make such a shocking revelation easier? We make the prevalence of such a dire thing easier by training for it... by making something morbid easier by practicing it before it comes... for it comes eventually into all our lives...... the storm cavalcade.RESPECTING THE TERRITORY OF A FOE BY TRAININGLet's not assume anything of the foe - that storm cavalcade - the rolling flashes of lightning - the piercing cracks of thunder - that is pretty. There is nothing pretty about our spouse suiciding because they couldn't reconcile life. Likewise, the man or woman who is rejected by their spouse of a decade or more... or the loss of a child... cancer as it sweeps through leaving but dust... or the grating sense of pain that will not go away.Respecting this territory of the foe is best dealt with by training. By assuming the maneuvers - by rehearsing them - through the lives of others who are currently enduring their own storm cavalcade - by our compassion, we train. We are readying ourselves for our own turn in the stocks!***What can be done about the storms of life? They come without warning and they leave hardly a trace of the old person. It's incumbent on us to prepare, to train, to ready ourselves to do God's work... to see the storm cavalcade through. It will take every ounce of strength we have - and oodles of strength we don't have - strength we will loan from God.(c) 2013 S. J. Wickham.