Rain. If you live in South Florida, that word evokes a familiar feeling. The sky has showered us with unrelenting raindrops this week. A friend sent me an image of Noah’s Ark with the hilarious title “taking reservations!” If you are a native, like me and my husband, the wet weather kicks off our summer season. If you are a new resident, you may be wondering why we are called the “Sunshine State!”
Friends, family, and Facebook fanatics are whining incessantly like the dreary downpours and disruptive storms. I get it. I truly do. Driving is treacherous, plans may be canceled, and high humidity is not hair friendly for those without natural curls. My head has been hijacked by a monstrous migraine. I couldn’t even write nor look at a computer screen until today. An irritable, collective mood seems to seep from all who live here. Memorial Day weekend has been a monsoon of whistling wind and rain.
Perhaps this is a metaphor for those who served our country? Perhaps the sky is weeping with both sadness and gratitude. Americans have morphed this reflective day into one filled with barbecues, libations, and other celebratory concoctions. But sometimes we forget the reason adults do not work and kids stay home from school. Thank you to all who courageously, selflessly served our country. I honor all who gave their lives to save ours. I salute you.
Today I challenge you to look for a rainbow in the storm. I realize that sounds somewhat impossible, especially if you are more of a “cup half empty” person. But I truly live this way. Our inner climate ought not to be dependent upon what’s occurring outside. Yet I’ve listened to complaint after complaint about the weather.
As a writer, I relish rainy days. I have slept better because my room is dark even after the sun peers through the clouds. The more rested I am, words and thoughts pour through me like the rain falling from the sky. I am grateful for the rain because it’s encouraged me to literally (and emotionally) go inside. My family teases me, but I enjoy watching the rain land in the lake. I pause to watch the pellets tap dance on the pool’s surface. It is like nature’s art in action.
I also embrace the forced downtime. We love movies but rarely stop to watch them as a family. We’ve watched two films with our teens in the past few days. And we also drove over an hour to celebrate our niece’s 10th birthday. I have devoured and appreciated every second of the indoor, quality time we’ve spent together this weekend.
On the way home from my niece’s party, we stopped at Whole Foods. I was ravenous. After a brief and costly spree, I waited outside for my husband to pick me up. He took the kids somewhere to run an errand while I shopped. As usual, I left the store with more food than I’d originally intended to buy.
I smiled at drenched employees as they pushed metal carts toward the store. I watched wet toddlers’ eyes widen with wonder as droplets splattered on their heads. I exchanged knowing, compassionate glances with parents whose patience was understandably evaporating. Suddenly there was a dry intermission in the sky’s percussive performance. I looked up at the parting clouds and short-lived partially clear sky.
Last night, we snuggled on the couch and watched “The Pursuit of Happyness.” (I cannot stand it, but that’s how the title is incorrectly and intentionally spelled. If you haven’t read this book or seen the movie, I highly recommend it!). My husband chose this powerful film. I thought about how fitting its message was for both Memorial Day and the weekend’s weather. The wind once again whipped through the palm fronds and tears fell from the sky.
As I held my husband’s hand, my eyes shifted from the screen to my 16-year-old’s anticipation to my daughter’s sweet, sleeping body. I realized that wherever we go, we bring the weather with us. We can choose to join the chorus of complainers. Or, we can find the sunshine in the storm. Although we cannot control what happens outside, we can undoubtedly weather any storms within us.
Happiness (and “happYness”) is a conscious choice. It is not merely a result of what happens around or to us. I choose to search for the sunshine. Sometimes it is tough task, especially on the dampest, darkest days. I hope during the next downpour, you find a dry, bright place within your heart’s shelter.