Lisa and I had planned to be in Kingman, Arizona this week. Unfortunately, those plans were derailed by Lisa’s breast cancer diagnosis. We are now waiting for surgery and radiation treatments. We are hopeful that we will soon be back on the road as we anticipate a full recovery. But, for now, we wait. I am reposting an article I wrote August 30, 2013 during our previous assignment in Arizona. I wrote this with a friend in mind who was also going through breast cancer. We never dreamed that it would eventually be us going through that storm.
Arizona has some crazy weather patterns. Currently we are in what is called “Monsoon Season” when sudden, torrential rain can wash out roads and cause massive flooding. In the last two weeks we have been alerted almost daily to flash flood warnings and the heavy rains have us avoiding the lower roadways and streets as we navigate Mohave County.
Desert storms bring some of the most breathtaking, if not ominous, cloud formations. With the wide-open vistas of the flat landscape, it is not unusual to watch rain falling a few miles away on a distant mountain. Often rain can be seen all around us but never make it to Kingman. The summer weather has been, for the most part, dry and hot with every daily forecast calling for more of the same. As the seasons begin to change – we are experiencing these storms more and more frequently.
Yesterday Lisa and I traveled to Bullhead City, Arizona. Bullhead City sits just across the Colorado River from Laughlin, Nevada – a gambling mecca for many in the area who like to avoid Las Vegas. Bullhead City offers shopping that Kingman cannot and we go there periodically for that purpose. On the way home we experienced one of the most severe storms since we have been here in Arizona.
As we got into our truck and began our trek back to Kingman we immediately noticed the strange color of the sky in front of us and dark clouds further on ahead told us we were in for quite a ride. Behind us to the west the sun was setting in a clear sky but straight ahead in our path the sky was turning orange and dark blue and the clouds seemed to be bubbling with pressure. This was not good.
Still we drove on. Lisa and I listened to the radio weather warnings every few minutes. Kingman was just about sixteen miles ahead and we continued to drive straight into the storm – looking for places to turn off if need be. Flash flood warnings had us mindful of rushing water from the mountains all around us and though we had not encountered the rain at this point – we were heading straight toward it. We talked about possibly pulling off the road until it passed – but the severe lightning flashing all around us made us unsure if stopping was a good idea. Sitting still in the desert just does not seem like a smart move and so we drove on – in silence.
Just twelve more miles to Kingman. The rain began to splatter onto our windshield and almost instantly we were hit with a deluge of water that limited our visibility. Cars started creeping to a near stop as we navigated around the slow-moving traffic. We just kept driving into the storm – hoping and praying to make it to the other side.
With about eight miles to go I noticed a dim light of color above the mountain straight ahead of us and commented that I could see some clearing. To the right and left – the storm seemed to be slamming the areas around us – but the direction we were headed revealed this small window of light that lifted our spirits and began to calm our nerves. With a little more acceleration – we continued on toward that clearing ahead.
With about four miles to go the rain began to let up and the sky continued to lighten. We realized that the storm was now mostly behind us and we had come safely through to the other side. The twinkling lights of Kingman could now be seen in the valley between the canyons and we breathed sighs of relief knowing we were safe. The storm was over and we were home.
There are storms in life and sometimes it is smart to pull off the road and let them pass. Last night we learned that the best way to deal with danger was to drive straight into it and get to the other side. Just get to the other side. Hang on long enough and the storm will pass. Just keep driving on even though lightning is flashing all around you and the rain is falling so hard you can barely see the road. Just keep going.
I read yesterday of a teacher back home who is fighting breast cancer. I hope she just keeps going and gets to the other side of her illness. On that other side she will find the storm has passed. I pray she just keeps going – keeps living – and refuses to stop until she finally sees the twinkling lights of home.