The Rain Makes Me Happy
I know there have been a gazillion pieces written on rain but, here in my little corner of the world, it has rained all day long. I mean, it was raining when we got up, and it is still raining now at dinner. All day. When something happens all day long, you start to think about it. At least I do.
Did you ever play in the rain when you were a kid? Have you ever been kissed in the rain? My answer to both of these questions is no. We found puddles to jump in after the rain when I was a kid and, as luck would have it, I’ve never been kissed in the rain although I do still hold out some hope for that one day. I remember learning that being unprotected in the rain could give you a cold so, while it was not something we dreaded or feared per se, it also wasn’t magical. But I am firm believer in chasing your dreams. I believe in making them a reality. So, when my girls were born, I decided that playing in the rain was an okay thing to do. We started out using umbrellas but soon dismissed those, donned swimsuits and ran outside in the pouring down rain. Shrieks of laughter followed suit. We found puddles to jump in while it was raining. We held our arms up high, twirled around, danced in it and reveled in the feel of the cool water hitting our faces. Only when it thunders do we go in. When we do, we always add to the excitement and fun by covering up with blankets, fixing hot cocoa and snuggling together. In no time, we’re warm again and graced with the memory of learning to thrive when it is grey out. Perhaps the most exciting part for us, though, comes when the rain has stopped. That’s when we go out and actively look for a rainbow. If we can’t see one, we’ve been known to get in the car and drive, looking for one. Sometimes we don’t find one but, most of the time, we do. It’s like our proof that the world needed the rain, and we were right to enjoy it.
Without water, there would be no clouds. Without rain, trees couldn’t grow and without trees, we wouldn’t have shade from the heat of a bright sun. Without rain, our land would be ugly, brown and barren because the grass and the flowers wouldn’t grow. There would also be no rainbow. There really isn’t very much more a beautiful sight than a rainbow–except, maybe, a double rainbow. They strike me with awe and offer a renewed sense of hope. Even as much as we love the rain, and to play in it, it only takes a matter of time before the gray clouds start to make me feel, well, Eeyore-ish. Not so long ago, my city suffered a flood. It rained, non stop, for several days. When the sun finally came out, and rainbows started populating the Facebook feed, I cannot tell you how joyful we all were. Not only because the rain was over, but also because the sun was out. Likewise, it is hard to remain optimistic and smiley when crisis after crisis strikes you one after the other. It is hard to go through something that you’ve feared you’re whole life. It is hard to be the recipient of loss, guilt and shame. It really is. It’s also hard to risk things, to chase the dream instead of just dreaming it. When I have an idea, fear of rejection and loss paralyze me—-until I remember the idea’s potential. When I think about the good an idea could cause, it makes me jump up and put it into action. Whether it succeeds or fails doesn’t really matter because I at least tried. Maybe we can’t ever really get to the end of that rainbow, because it will always keep moving away at the same rate we are, but while I’m trying to find that pot of gold, I get to walk on colors brighter than those I normally see, I get to believe in myself longer than I normally do.
When we see a rainbow, the girls and I always take turns telling stories about it. I always start it by asking them if they can feel how warm the colors are. I’ll have them close their eyes and tell me whether they feel the heat of the red as it rushes over them. Sometimes the heat from Red causes steam to rise and the steam gets into our nostrils and clears up our airways as well as Vix ever has. My colors usually run over me like a waterfall from the top of my head, because I picture myself standing directly under the rainbow’s base. But Breathe’s colors usually start at her feet and rush up her body while Alight’s is felt sporadically—sometimes she feels the colors on her arms first, sometimes on her feet, sometimes on her face. Eventually, though, the red has seeped all over us, drying the leftover rainwater that’s on our skin and filling us with warmth. After red, I usually mention orange, then yellow. Yellow is another favorite because, by this time, we’re warmed. Red and orange have made us feel cozy and yellow brings joy. It rushes through us quickly and causes little tingling sensations on our skin. It’s like that feeling of butterflies when something really, really good has just happened. Yellow makes us all smile. Green is Breathe’s favorite, because it makes her think of grass. As it rushes over our bodies, we inhale deeply and smell the air; it is moist and fresh. Green makes us feel grounded and safe. We’re still alive, we’re still growing. As it rushes over us, I encourage the girls to stretch their arms and legs until they think they can imagine them growing. Green gets us ready to move. Blue is Alight’s favorite. It’s cooler than the red and orange, but brings with us belief. As it flows over us, we feel able and strong. The sky is clear above us, and we are sure we can accomplish whatever we want. By the time purple flushes through us, it’s like a spark. Wherever the color purple touches our skin, we feel energized. We wiggle our toes and fingers and then we open our eyes; we’re ready to chase that dream, to face another day. The rain has stopped, and we are well-rested and ready for the day ahead. By the time we’re tired again, the rain has come and forces us to slow ourselves down, to relax and to wait out the storm.
You see, the thing is… there will always be rain clouds. There will always be pain too. It’s part of life. But the pain makes me stronger. Just like the rain makes the flowers and trees do so, pain makes me grow. It opens my eyes to parts of life I wouldn’t have otherwise known. It reminds me of the things that really matter, and that should occupy most of my thoughts. We don’t go through the storms for nothing. We go through the storms because they are necessary for growth. It’s easy to be friends with those who like you: it is not easy to see the good in those who don’t. It’s easy to follow the crowd because, when we do, we don’t have to think. It’s hard to be the black sheep, the one that always does things differently. It’s easy to lay blame, but hard to admit when you are wrong. It’s hard to have everything you love taken from you. Pain hurts. Storms can be awful–they can uproot trees, they can topple homes. Storms can make your heart feel chaotic, restless and afraid. But the rain stops. And rainbows then come out. Promises are made–and kept; hope is restored; joy is renewed.
Physical rain makes me feel calm and peaceful. I love to listen to it as it pitter-patters on the window panes. I love the swooshing noise it makes as cars drive through it. It makes me want to curl up with Lambie, my pillow, a blanket and a never-ending book. It forces me to slow down. It reminds me that the world will wait. I also love the rain because playing, dancing, in it reminds me to take the good, and the bad, in stride. It teaches me to dance when the world is grey and my feet buried in a puddle. It reminds me to keep my eyes focused ahead because, no matter how awful something may feel, the colors of a new rainbow are just ahead. Rain can lull me to sleep and, when it does, I awake excited about the possibility of seeing a rainbow in the morning. Rain brings new growth, new chapters. It also brings promises. I won’t hide inside for fear of catching a cold when I could stand outside with my head tipped all the way back and feel the cool rain flow down my face. Although it doesn’t always feel like it, rain is something over which to rejoice because it almost always brings something better into my life. Choosing to believe that, even when it thunderstorms, allows me to face the negative with hope and a spirit of optimism. I’d rather be pushed just outside my comfort zone and grow spiritually, emotionally and physically then remain at a standstill in life, always thirsting for something different. We played in the rain today. We took an impromptu break from school and rode the girls easy riders in swimsuits in the pouring down rain. We also took our nightly walk, even though it was still raining. And we are all the better for doing so.