the Dawn before the Storm


It is Saturday morning . . . the sky is that whitish back shade that let’s you know the day is coming. My husband has left to take the LSAT . . . for the second time . . . and the kids and the dogs and my brother and his wife and baby are all still blessedly asleep. The house is quiet. The mountain hovering over our neighborhood of houses on the hill is motionless waiting to watch the bustle of the day. I am calm. There is no phone, no instant messaging, no emails. Only the written voices and posted faces of friends and colleagues on Facebook to distract me if I wanted to dive into social company at this early hour. I choose instead, for now, to write. Lately I have been in the school of hard knocks. It has been a period of time that has containted death , destruction and almost every trial in between. A period of time I have not been able to title til last night when my husband suggested that we were in some sort of training ground, not ulike a college education process . . . thuse the school of hard knocks came to my mind as a perfect title. A way to put a name of the un understandable fates that have plagued me. I won’t bore you with the details of loosing loved ones, businesses, pain, and suffering, you have those details of your own. Maybe not in the time frame of the last few years but you have had them. And I am sure as you have struggled you have struggled with the faith to believe that there is and end. I have daily gotten out of bed, prayed for that day to bring a solution, a light, a reminder of miracles and still the suffering continues. On some days hope will spring in the form of a friends suggestion, a song on the radio, a positive opportunity, a hand out of love, and then some days there is nothing but the trudge through hours. People say, “look on the bright side” “the glass is half full” “there is a silver lining” and “the hour is only darkest before dawn.” I hear this and I believe it was for them and others in this world, but I still wrestle with the hope that it applies to me. Does the Lord grow tired of listening to pleas? Did they call the line just before me? I guess I worried about that til we came up with the title for our period of duress. the school of hard knocks. If your life is almost unbearable and things for now are out of control and hard to understand then I suggest doing what I have done. I am pretending I am enrolled in a course, in my case a hefty college course. My education includes experience learning to turn grief, loss, scarcity, lonliness, sadness, rejection, being squased, effort resulting in nothing, hurtfulness of others, effort returning exhaustion and nothing else, pain (yes, all of that) into the title of education. Yes, I am experiencing a world class education from which I will graduate someday . . . soon I hope. As I go through the school of hard knocks I only advance each course as I do my homework, complete my assisgnments and pass the test. I learn what I learn and then advance. Each course is a hardship which I must live through and overcome. I must learn something and apply it to my life. My attitude as I go along affects the outcome of my grade, like the citizenship grades of the past. If I handle myself with good grace my grade is better. Some of my classes have lasted longer than a semester and some of my classes I have had to repeat. Obviously not learning the first time what I needed to learned I was flunked and sent through course D of hard knocks again. Some courses I aced immediately, painful or not I recognized the subject lesson and passed the test. Now as I write this the pink shades of dawn have stretched out over the sky turning it from whitish to pale blue and I see why so many people find the dawn worth waiting for. It is lovely. Lovely like graduation day from the school of hard knocks. Now, if you like me worried that that school of hard knocks was a life long education, never fear, it is not. Just like the series of educations you receive through life it comes in a time period which has a beginning and an end. Think of elementary school, high school . . . it seemed to go on forever but when you had learned what you were meant to you graduated, triumphed and gloriously went on to the next phase of your education or your life. The school of hard knocks come to those who need pass through a deep education before going on the next stage of their life. Unlike a college education you don’t get to choose when you take it, the school of hard knocks enrolls you when it’s time. Sometimes this education starts simply and almsot without notice and then sometimes you are enrolled into the toughest classes, like calculus was a nightmare for me, immediately. I was enrolled in the school of hard knocks a few years ago, the first lessons were loss and death. (Yes I started with the tough classes. I guess someone thought I needed to get those classes out of the way.) And I have gone on to take others in love, life, busimess, pain and stress. A few of my classes have been fun, like the elective classes you get to choose. I have learned sharing, art, and even scuba. Yet now somehow I feel my education is nearing completion. I don’t know how I know but something inside me, like the beginnings of the dawn outside, tells me that this round of education in the school of hard knocks is nearly complete. I will graduate soon (I hope) to experience a time of joy, success, advancement. After school comes the application process, learning what I have applied and proving my teachers right or wrong about whether or not I was ready to graduate. When I graduate from the school of hard knocks there won’t be a cap and gown, pomp and circumstance, no ceremony. I will know I have graduated when bit by bit I can breath again, when success comes my way and allows for relaxation from worry, and rooom for overflowing joy. Remember the heavy class loads of each semester in school and the relief that comes with passing the final test in each class? Now compare that to the real final relief of graduating! Leaving the education behind. When I graduated from high school I knew I had college ahead, but to finally be done with the series of lessons learned and some of the teachers was an incredibly freeing feeling. Sure I would miss the friends I made there, but I didn’t have to leave them, I could take them with me as I carried off my diploma! Graduating finally from the school of hard knocks doesn’t mean there aren’t other education series’ ahead of you. It just means you passed this one. It means you learned what you had to learn in that part of your life enough to graduate and move on! Like the dawn after a very dark hour, you realize again that all is right with the world and that you have the tools to live well with. You have the education that showed you that you could survive the experiences. You now can move on. You have graduated. If I have learned anything from the school of hard knocks I have learned to appreciate abundance. The abundance of opportunities to smile with you kids every day to the abundance of real financial freedom to the abundance of dawns that keep coming, morning after morning, enrolled in school or not. When I graduate I will let you know, because I am going to throw a really really big party! Kim Power Stilson


About bluebirdsisterhood

About Kim Power Stilson: TalkWorthy Talk Radio Show host on SiriusXM 143 weekdays at 3 pm Eastern, author of "Choose Surthrival! Are you ready to go from surviving to thriving with at 21st Century business?", digital media strategist for Power Strategies and writer for Puerto Vallarta Today magazine. Kim Power Stilson has helped position hundreds of people and their causes through e-media, PR, radio and TV. Hollywood celebrities, authors, United States Senators,corporations, non-profit organizations and home-based businesses alike have enjoyed success through the application of her strategies. A dual citizen, Kim divides her time between the United States, England & Ireland. Visit her at

One response »

  1. That was a wonderful read, and so very, very true. Thank you for posting, you helped me to clear my own cloudy thinking into a challenge event. I can do it, I will do it, and I’ll be throwing my own super duper party when it ends too. Great post.

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