‘Every Storm … Runs Out of Rain’

Across a globe shrunken by technology and travel, a monstrous monsoon is soaking the landscape, the torrential rains of COVID-19 taking from us precious moments … jobs … lives. But no matter how powerful the storm, every downpour ends and the sun shines again.

May 2020

Richard G. Johnstone Jr., Executive Editor

Almost 60 years on, it remains a vivid memory.

In the early weeks of first-grade in Tampa, Miss Rogers was a cheerful presence. Until one day. Her tone somber, her smile gone, she asked us to play a new game. Not “hide and seek,” but instead, “duck and cover.” At her signal, we ducked quickly under our desks, knees folded, faces down, arms covering heads.

Perhaps more puzzling than this unfamiliar game was the dog tag each of us was given, stamped with name, address and blood type. Dangling from a metal beaded chain, we were told to wear it daily, around our necks. Few small children of the time questioned the instructions of adults, certainly not teachers, police officers, ministers or doctors. So, I remember viewing this shiny rectangle as a cool connection with the soldiers on my favorite TV show, “Combat.”

Years later I learned its purpose, as grim for us first-graders as for those soldiers: to provide the compressed particulars of a young life. If alive, to save it; if gone, to identify it.

Even for my young self, those 13 days in October 1962, dubbed the Cuban Missile Crisis, had a palpable cast over them. Of anxiety, worry, fear.

Now 64, I’m witness to a more ominous sense of anxiety, worry, fear … pervading the public square. Of course, the public square is not as public nowadays. New phrases have entered our lexicon. “Self-quarantine.” “Shelter in place.” “Social distancing.” All describe our efforts to “flatten the curve,” and lessen the impact of the pandemic.

The downpour from COVID-19 is like a monstrous monsoon, soaking the landscape, its torrential rains taking from us precious moments … jobs … lives.

It’s a crisis like no other. But so too were other crises: World Wars I and II. The Great Depression. 9/11. We Americans have faced all of them with grit and tenacity, and most importantly, unity. And we’re facing COVID-19 the same way.

In traveling together through this terrible storm, we will emerge stronger, wiser and more united than ever.

That’s the cooperative way. That’s the way your member-owned electric cooperative has served your community for 80-plus years, providing reliable, affordable power.

Your cooperative has been there, through a world war, three wars in Asia, one in the Middle East, a depression and multiple recessions, and lots of peaceful and prosperous times, too. Through it all, the employees, elected directors and member-consumers of your electric cooperative have lived and worked together, in the same community, with a shared commitment to their shared home.

Yet, even in close-knit communities such as ours, we must be properly cautious of temptations that naturally arise during extraordinary emergencies. The temptation to hoard. To become insular. To forget about neighbors. To forget that the civility we practice so easily during good times becomes a signature test of our character during times like this. 

In our big, boisterous, diverse American family, now celebrating 231 years together, a common core of shared values, and a shared respect for them, has been essential for our success, even at times for our survival.

History’s call to us — now, today — is not merely to be cautious, but to remain neighborly, to help where we can in our community, to care about the wider world. And to remember that good times and bad both have a limited shelf life.

A few years ago, country music artist Gary Allan co-penned and recorded a song that’s a near-perfect metaphor for today’s crisis. In the first line of the chorus, he sings, “Every storm runs, runs out of rain.”  

And today’s storm, terrible as it is, will, too. Then tomorrow, while dark clouds recede and the sun reappears, we’ll emerge: to grieve …to console … to survey … to rebuild. Together.

“Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)” Songwriters: Hillary Lindsey, Gary Allan, Matt Warren ©Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., BMG Rights Management, CRYSTAL BEACH MUSIC.