The air between the Raindrops


October 03, 2007

Be still sad heart and cease repining;
Behind the clouds the sun is shining,
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life a little rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
Longfellow


Whenever it rains, I'm reminded of what my father always said. "You won't get wet - just run in between the raindrops, and you'll be just fine." I also think of that saying when life rains down hard on me and I wonder how to dodge the drops, then, too. Daddy's gentle and humorous confidence that life always worked out for the best instilled in me the same optimism and joyful outlook on life. When we realize that the inevitable rain showers come and go in our lives no matter how much we try to avoid the dampness of the moment, we find comfort and a sense of content understanding when we look behind the clouds of circumstance and know the sunshine of possibility never left our world.

Life lessons, like the rain in our lives, offer us both pleasant and unpleasant experiences. We recognize that life's challenges, much like precipitation, bring opportunities for growth, but only when the soil of our consciousness absorbs the lesson. If we put up umbrellas of protection from the majesty of life falling down on us, we negate the possibility of receiving new information and therefore, deny progression toward our greater good. Yet, if we look up to the sky and willingly allow the inevitable rain to reach us, we may indeed get wet – even drenched – in the torrent of blessings disguised as a dark cloud teaching us valuable lessons. Only when we walk in the rain, with its glorious thunder and lighting and life-sustaining water, do we embrace the possibility of moving through it and accepting the blessings it brings.

When it rains, it pours
I live in the desert southwest of the United States. Here, in Phoenix, we average single digit annual rainfall. When I first arrived, over 13 years ago, and the sunshine welcomed me over 300 days each year, I felt cheated if overcast skies darkened my mood. It took a while, but now I welcome the cloud cover, with anticipation that it may provide life-giving rain to our arid landscape. Many times, the high clouds, filled with water, unleash their cache of moisture into the atmosphere, and we still don’t get rainfall. How does that happen? Its so dry here, the rain evaporates before it hits the gound! So, we have all the symptoms of rain, the appearance and feeling of rain in the air, but not the actual manifestation of rain. Somewhere, up there, rain happens. Often we don’t reap the benefits of it here on the valley floor.

Conversely, winding through the metropolitan area, "washes" provide a necessary route for flood water to move safely through the terrain into the canal system for distribution in residential landscapes. Flooding in the desert? During "Monsoon Season" and beyond, Phoenix receives microbursts and thunderstorms which cause torrential flooding. Since the ground is so hard that it cannot absorb an onslaught of water from the heavens, the topography accommodates a redirection of the fast-moving currents. Often, motorists ignore and drive around road-closed signs and enter into the "wash" near home, only to find their vehicles quickly submerged in a swirling, fast-moving and often deadly flow of water.

At times in our lives, we experience drought or downpour. We complacently go from day to day, enjoying our bliss. All the while, somewhere, the rain builds, but it avoids hitting us directly. We see the accumulation of problems and feel the residual effects of the gathering storm, but we don’t experience the outburst directly. And then, when the skies open up and problems pour down on us, we use different methods, like prayer or coping mechanisms, to assist us in redirecting the conflict away from us, for a better use. Like weather, does God give us an "all or nothing" presentation of life’s challenges? Sometimes, it seems that way.

Between the drops
Unlike a waterfall, rain falls to earth in droplets. One little lesson at a time, we feel soaked in life’s education, yet we must remember what’s in between the drops themselves. My father's gentle advice to run in between the drops meant that while we experience the downpour of life, the way to cross the street to a sunny side of positive outcome, is to take advantage of those brief moments and spaces in time – between the drops - and take a breath of air to assess what's happening, then move on to the next challenge. He never claimed it wouldn’t rain, he just pointed out to mitigate the effects of the harshness of life, move deliberately and quickly from one challenge to the next. The power lies between the drops. Eventually, the rain stops, and the sun peeks out again from behind the clouds of ordeal.

Put away your umbrella
Whenever I tell my woes to my friend Ann, she gently reminds me that the situation I'm describing exists to teach me a lesson. I can't learn the lesson if I avoid it, I must walk through it. If we repeatedly put up umbrellas to block the lessons from touching our lives, we never experience the purpose of the education and we must suffer repeated exposure to the challenge. Like the weather, we control very little of what rains down on us. When we divert or ignore the problems in our lives, they return with fervor, like the microburst, and flood our consciousness with such powerful lessons, we can’t turn deny the issues swirling at our feet, threatening our demise.

As we embrace the gentle rain and the small sprinklings of life happening from time to time, we prepare ourselves by learning slowly and completely the lessons the heavens give us at the perfect time and place, and in the perfect order. Rain, like life's ordeals, gives us nourishment, and is necessary for growth. Without the existence of the dark clouds and humidity, the sunshine in our lives may be taken for granted.

The air between the drops? Little gulps of possibilities and a precursor of the clear skies coming your way. Celebrate your life between the dark clouds and wet air, and know if you move with speed and deliberation and learn from the storms in your life, the clouds eventually move on. Everything in life is temporary.

Difficulties really do evaporate with time. Your true power is found between the trickles of misfortune, in the awareness of your ability to move from one challenge to the next.

1069 words



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