Come Dance in the Rain
It has been raining steadily for the last three hours, the sky dark and gloomy. Do I take the opportunity to curl up in front of a cozy fire with a good book and a hot beverage? I do NOT. Why? Well, it is August and this is New Mexico. When you wake up to rain and grey skies, you leap out of bed, pull on shorts and a tee shirt and head for the garden!
No need for the usual long-sleeved shirt, the hat, the gobs of sunscreen. Don’t worry about bugs or getting overheated or sun-stressed plants. You can rearrange the whole garden without getting sunburned, move heavy rocks without breaking a sweat. While the bees and the chickens are anxiously huddled in their coop/hive, not quite remembering the last time water fell from the sky, you can stake peas or firmly anchor drooping trumpet vine tendrils. Ah such a glorious day!
Steady rain, dark and gloomy skies did not always bring joy to my heart. A small island village in SE Alaska had plenty of days like this, hundreds actually. I woke to the sound of rain and I went to bed to the sound of rain. I bundled the children up in small rubber boots and waterproof jackets and went for walks in the rain. We visited the beach in the rain. We played on the playground in the rain. The rain was NOT my friend. Fast forward many years to Olympia, Washington. The last year I lived there, it rained every single day from October to April. This astounding fact did not break any records, that is normal Pacific NW weather.
It took moving to the desert to shift my perspective about rain. I moved from Washington to New Mexico in the sweltering month of June. The temperatures would drop below 100 degrees about 10:00 pm and the old black dog and I would set out for an evening walk, the ground finally cool enough for the pads of her feet. When the monsoon rains began to gather the middle of July, you could feel anticipation in the air. I wasn’t sure what to expect, monsoon rains was uttered with a sacred hush like you would speak of a visit from the Queen. When the first storm broke with flashes of lightning, booming thunder over the mountains, and streaks of grey across the horizon, like God had wielded a huge paint brush, the whole town ran into the streets and danced in the pouring rain. It was a glorious celebration of something I had not only taken for granted, but deeply resented. It was a wonderful change of perspective.
The other day my husband and I sit down to a supper of meat, cheese and crunchy baguettes spread out on the coffee table. A quick kiss as we sit cross-legged on the floor suffices for giving thanks and we hit play on the remote, starting a much anticipated movie. A few years ago, the pleasure of an evening at home with someone I love would have been clouded in resentment. I would have rather been out dancing to live music. My thoughts would have been consumed with all the ways this person limited me by his likes or dislikes. It took a nine month separation and a world-wide pandemic to change my perspective on the joy and comfort of a life partner.
Perspective is merely the point of view from which you approach life. Is God good or vengeful? Does your life have meaning? Are you loved? Is your cup half empty or half full? So many things affect our perspective: childhood, DNA, friend groups, physical health, many of my friends would say astrological sign, though I haven’t been persuaded of that. What I DO know is - a negative perspective is detrimental to ones quality of life. I also know from personal experience, it can be changed. You don’t have to move or leave your partner to do this of course. Hopefully much smaller actions can bring about a positive point of view.
What if instead of a groan and hitting the snooze button, you lay in bed and listed ten things you were grateful for? Imagine starting the day with a heart already full of gratitude. What if you embraced, truly embraced, the idea that you are only responsible for your own thoughts, actions, attitudes, the thoughts, actions and attitudes of others are not your problem? What if you believed everything happens for a reason and even the worst of circumstances have lessons to teach us? What if you acknowledged every human is made in the image of God (including yourself) and to love and honor that person is to glorify God? What if you knew every person you come into contact with has something to teach you? What if you eliminated, “I can’t.” from your vocabulary, replacing it with, “I wonder?” Imagine the perspective you will have of the world if “I wonder?” is your first thought about any situation? Glory be! Hold on to your hats world!
I am glad to be a desert dweller frolicking in the rain, knowing its sweet presence is fleeting. I am glad to share a simple meal with my best friend, knowing time with him is a gift, not an obligation. I am glad really big, hard things have happened to me, showing me life is not what happens but how you choose to view it. This takes daily commitment and often I let the viewpoints of others color my world or succumb to the poor me mentality that lurks beneath the surface. Thankfully, using my positive perspective muscle has really strengthened it and most days, it is natural to dance in the rain rather than curse the grey. I ask you to come and join me.