Watching You — Restore Your Soul After The Storm.
I can still see it now, clear as day — cool summer nights in your arms and humid afternoon strolls along the cobblestone downtown.
But on that fateful day — the day when the heat finally broke and the thunder rolled through — I wasn’t prepared for the storm and neither were you.
Your eyes look directly into mine and I warp through your pupils at lightning speed. The images come quickly.
Your best friend is taken too soon. It starts pouring rain.
Your wife packs her bags. I’m blown over by a huge gust of wind.
Your child is miscarried. Lightning strikes by my left foot.
Your comrade is killed at war. The other ends his own life stateside.
The ground breaks open below my feet. I’m grasping at the walls of your soul but can’t hold on to any of it as this hurricane moves in and takes over. I cover my eyes, living briefly in these moments of your past and wondering how you look at these images which hang on the walls of your heart every day.
I hear a voice just then. “Board up the windows, lock the doors!” There’s a hurricane inside your soul. I want to stay to help, to provide non-profit relief from this paralyzing storm. Just then I am shot right back out of your pupils the same way I came in. A long fall to come.
“It is what it is,” you state, as if this platitude is something that brings you comfort.
“Did you just see what I saw?” I want to ask. But I don’t ask questions. Ever. I don’t ask because I can’t imagine the pain that it would bring you to draw these images verbally, let alone re-live them in dialogue with me.
So you board up the windows. You lock the doors. Your soul cracks, crumbles, and is left in a giant heap before you. I am quickly replaced in your life by the rubble that you’re left to repair — one piece at a time.
I step back and watch with tearful eyes as you rip apart the floorboards.
Summer turns to Fall, and you take a sledgehammer to the remaining cabinets. Winter brings its chill as you claw apart the drywall, relentless in your pursuit of repair.
I can’t hear what you’re crying out, but I want to hear it so badly that I constrict every muscle in my body to silence so I can understand your words. I hear nothing. I can only watch you toil with what was once your home: your soul.
I watch you meticulously sand down each plank. You remove old nails — old hardships that left you spiteful. You carefully stain the newly sanded wooden floor — a floor that was once was pristine with the life you thought you wanted to live.
Each brush stroke infiltrates the wood beneath it with a layer of wisdom.
As you fill in the old nail holes, I can see the light in your eyes return. You place new nails in the floorboards — each nail giving a loud blast of freedom to your future. Each step to restoring your soul is meticulously crafted by your own two hands.
I can see your calloused knuckles, splintered fingers, and cracked palms — earthly reminders of what it takes to repair something so precious, something so beautiful.
Just then you look up at me and open the doors to this completely restored home to your soul.
I enter the front door and run my hands along the wooden beams, the hardwood floor, the oak cabinets. I can feel where your shoulders once burned in order to sand away the pain that this hurricane brought you.
The rich pine floor that was once covered with anger, resentment, and disappointment is now stained with forgiveness, beauty, and grace.
I want to lay your soul as the foundation of my home.
I want to walk barefoot along the cracks of your heart and explore every piece of your compassion and love. I want to lie on the hardwood floor and absorb your abundant wisdom and kindness living within it.
I want to lean against the grooves in the hand-scraped wooden beams and soak in your foundational strength and fortitude. I want to hold your cracked hands in mine. Your hands — the very curators of character that created this beautifully restored soul.
Life will rip your soul to pieces.
It will tear out your heart, throw it in the dirt and stomp out the light in your eyes if you let it.
The loss of your wife, your child, and your friends will strip you of your reflective identity until you’re left with pieces of your soul at your feet. What you do with the rubble that life leaves behind in her wake is what matters.
Sand out the pain. Rip out the violent memories. And after it has all been torn to shreds, nail in new adoration for yourself. Create an open floor plan in your heart — one that makes room for your true identity.
Paint your walls with forgiveness — a universal color that truly does make your soul much bigger, as it allows room for others to fulfill your life with their own wisdom. Fill the plumbing with grace — not just for those who have hurt you, but for yourself.
Let that grace be the unseen usher of dirt, excretion, and all else that needs to leave your home.
Run your hands along the painful reminders ingrained in the wood and then step back and smile, for you’ve handcrafted a magnificently restored soul worth thriving in.
Alison Dupra is a tangible manifestation of wanderlust. As an avid traveler and patriot, she wants to fulfill her purpose through helping others. For work, she is a Healthcare IT Consultant. For love, she is a runner, health enthusiast, America-lover, and self-proclaimed relationship expert. Alison is constantly seeking answers to life’s greatest questions burning inside us all.