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The Silence Before the Storm

There are times in life when circumstances overtake us and throw us into the fray without our knowledge.  Other times, an opportunity or challenge arises when we know exactly what we’re getting into. Regardless, during these times there is a lull often called the “silence before the storm.”

I truly hope that as you read this you are vividly aware of what I am talking about and can feel the hairs rise on the back of your neck in recollection to what that anticipation feels like.  For you, it might have been at a track meet before the official shot of the starting gun, a wrestling match before the referee blows the whistle to begin the match, or at a myriad of other defining events.

I’m going to share my reflections on a few of my most cherished memories of this lull before a much awaited event. As you read this, I hope that you can also recall your own most unforgettable times.

In high school, I decided to go to India for a year with Rotary. As the days finally got closer and I started making my way to the airport for what would end up being a year away from home, I started to feel a calmness settle over me and an eager expectation of what would await.  There is also the time I spent riding my bike from Canada to Mexico with the Nolan’s and waiting for the day I would get to Santa Barbara where I would meet a women for the first time, in person, that I had been “dating” online for four months.  There was also the few days leading up to that fateful meeting, as I peddled through Big Sur imagining what the weekend would entail.  Then, there were the moments three years later with that same woman as I sat there with my best man Adrian, and we waited patiently as she prepared for our upcoming wedding ceremonies.  A joy overflowed me, and I was at peace enjoying the time with friends, community and that calmness before a major change in life. 

These next few months will have many moments where I will have the blessing to enjoy that calmness before entering the experience.  This week I am getting ready to start the Race Across America, a 12 day 3,000+ mile journey from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD on a bicycle.  I am enjoying this calmness before the constant outpouring of focus for almost two weeks.  I will return from that journey and, as significant of an experience as it will be, will surely move onto other new experiences that add great meaning to our lives, like becoming a parent.

Kristin and I are now expecting our first child on the way in September and the business is quickly growing.  It’s been incredible to me thinking about being a father.  I can honestly say that this bike race has taken a back seat in my mind in terms of importance and relevance in my future.  The joy and anticipation of being a father soon is hard to describe in words.  More than anything I can’t wait for those moments waiting in the hospital before our child arrives.

As I prepare in this silence before the storm I am reminded of some great words from wise men before me.  For the race which sometimes can “feel” impossible, I reflect on Matthew 19:26 as a guiding mantra: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Another recent legend, the late, Great Muhammad Ali, might have said it best, “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.  Impossible is not a fact.  It’s an opinion.  Impossible is not a declaration.  It’s a dare.  Impossible is potential.  Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

Whatever storm you are heading into, savor the silence and the peacefulness before the fray.  Whether by choice or chance, take the opportunity to face each storm with faith, grace, and persistence.

Rob DeCou