On Christmas Day, while most folks were enjoying a holiday meal with their families, I was glued to the television, watching the approach of a dangerous line of tornado-producing storms.
I chewed my nails to the quick, clutched the flashlight to my chest, and made frequent trips to the window to check the deteriorating conditions.
By the time the sirens went off, I was nearly hysterical.
My fears overtook my sanity in a sweeping avalanche as I ordered my family into the hallway of our hotel to seek shelter.
We stepped into the empty passage and heard voices — in particular, the voice of an old woman across the hall reassuring relatives on the telephone that she was fine and the storm was no big deal.
When no one else emerged from their rooms, we returned to ours and watched as the tornadoes moved north and south of us, but left our area completely untouched. We never even lost power.
In retrospect, I realize my fears may have been slightly overdone.
Even in the areas where tornadoes did hit, no lives were lost because people heeded the warnings and sought safe shelter.
Was my fear completely unnecessary?
Look, fear is a natural reaction — it’s the brain’s way of keeping us out of trouble.
Fear should have motivated me to be prepared for the storm, but not to avoid my normal activities.
Instead, I wasted an entire day — *Christmas* Day! — ignoring my family so that I could memorize the Doppler radar movement and stalk my favorite storm chaser on Facebook (yes, I have a favorite storm chaser, there’s nothing wrong with that).
That’s not what fear is meant to do.
As Toni pointed out to me when I returned (accompanied by a dramatic eye roll) I got myself all worked up hours before the storms arrived even though there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop the advancing weather.