Rain. It is a beautiful thing.
There are so many types of rain and I couldn’t tell you which sort I prefer most (unless we’re including the fluffy, white, frozen variety that I love most of all, in copious quantities, as frequently as possible.)
It’s a lot like life.
We can’t control the rain any more than we can control the storms that roll across our paths. Neither can we control what kind of rain it is, how hard it falls, or for how long, but we can control how we respond to it. We can prepare when we see a storm rolling in so we don’t end up soaking wet and we can stand in wonder of its power, understanding that without it, without the storms that fill our lives, nothing would grow.
Storms in life are, at their core, very similar to their weather-related cousins. Some are small and easily weathered (pun intended.) Some are tricky and require skill to negotiate, while others are raging monsters from which we must find shelter. There are really only a few that are truly devastating; yet even when these turn our life’s journey upside down, family, friends, and even strangers will often join forces with us to defend and survive.
In order to survive the shifting weather patterns of life we only need to change our perspective about them. Simple enough to say, true, but viewing hurdles and obstacles in the same way we see a spring rain shower or summer thunderstorm can help us prepare for them. By learning how to categorize storms, we also learn how to deal with them. We know if we need an umbrella, a raincoat, spikes in our shoes, or if we simply need to stay inside so we don’t end up drenched.
Myriad Meteorological Milieu
There’s the light, misty kind of rain I tend to envision whenever someone talks about Great Britain. That type of drizzly, foggy precipitation that drapes the landscape, penetrating every crevice and enveloping whatever it touches in a hazy shroud. These pesky little storms can be deceptively inconsequential that don’t look like much until you walk out without your brolly. They also leave ten thousand beads of incandescent diamonds in their wake that sparkle and scintillate when the light reappears.
There’s the freezing drizzle or frizzle; a sinister variety of rain that usually arrives without warning and transforms the garden path, car park, or your front steps into a skating arena suitable only for Olympic athleticism. This category of precipitation doesn’t initially impress either, so you generally disregard it until you have to go out and then promptly wind up on your…..A-hem…. It’s that quirky classification of rain that warps and blurs everything into unrealistic, Photoshop-worthy deviations of reality that makes most of us grab our cameras to record and share the surreal, Dr. Suess-iness of it all.
There are many classifications of thunderstorms, as well. Those that pop up in the middle of a sweltering, summer day just long enough to make us all run for cover. There’s the kind that creates a lot of noise for a few minutes and then disappears into a haze of steam. There are those that roll overhead in the calm of the evening, fast and furious, full of sound and fury, (signifying nothing?) that do little more than make a mess.
Then, there are those magnificent, cacophonous, tempests that jar you from a sound sleep in the middle of the night with ear-splitting thunder and shocks of lightning that leave you wondering if you shouldn’t, perhaps, hide under the bed with the cat. We usually know these storms are coming, however. If we’re paying attention, we can hear and see them before they arrive. Although they make a mess, they also generate conversations and prompt us to do a little work after they’re gone.
There’s also the awe-inspiring, stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks kind of rain that makes you stare out the window in astonishment, forces you off the road in your car because you can’t see one inch ahead or behind. These are the tempests that make you wonder for a fleeting moment if there isn’t an ark being built someplace nearby on which you ought to be booking passage? Those torrential downpours of cats and dogs (and monkeys.) Sometimes we need help when these arrive; we need to take shelter or require some measure of bolstering before we venture back outside, but when we do, we’re stronger for them.
Then there’s the steady, pervasive, day-long kind of rain that sweeps over the earth, softly falling hour by hour, never flooding, never rumbling, never wreaking havoc. We can walk out in it and we aren’t buffeted about or sent careening off the road. This is the kind of rain that looks like a beautiful painting by Monet or Van Gogh. These rains often smell so sweet we inhale the scent of them deeply and can’t help sighing.
Shift Your Perspective
Dealing with life and all the chaos that goes along with it starts with a simple decision. Face the day with a positive outlook or a negative one. Though it seems a trivial notion, making this one choice will affect everything throughout your day. Positivity generates positivity. Like breeds like, but how do you actively choose a positive attitude each morning? Here are a few ideas:
- Be thankful, even for the simple things like clean water, a safe home, and a warm bed. There are many who don’t have these things.
- Practice positive self-talk. It’s a proven fact that we generate what we verbalize. Telling yourself you can’t do something is self-defeating and will create the opposite of what you want. Say you can, you will, you are, even if you feel like you can’t, won’t, or aren’t. Test this out. It works.
- Forgive. There’s nothing healthy about being angry, resentful, or focusing on something that disappointed you. Forgive first. Forgetting may not follow, but it’s a step in the right direction.
- Help others, even in small ways. In this world of obliviousness and mania, doing a little something for someone else can be a huge surprise, not to mention a marvelous mood lifter.
- Smile. Did you know that smiling activates tiny molecules in your brain that are designed to fend off stress? These molecules, called neuropeptides, trigger your brain to release dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. So in effect, when you smile, you want to smile 🙂
Everything that lives needs rain.
The varied, shifting storms can take us by surprise, leave us staring in wonder, and, yes, sometimes crying because of the devastation they generate. They remind us how terrifying and wondrous life is. They nourish and promote growth. They cleanse and refresh, and renew.
By looking at life’s storms the same way we look at the rain, we may discover we just want to pull off our shoes, go outside, and splash in the puddles.