This is an updated version of a post I wrote that first appeared on Darlene Turner’s blog. For those who are new to Through The Fire, I blog when I have something to say not on a set schedule (partly cause I’m not good with rules and all the experts say I’m supposed to be blogging consistently, but mostly because I write full-time and paid work has to come before the blog).
What if…we danced in the rain?
We’ve just had a record-breaking heat wave here and I spent all last week out digging, hauling dirt, hefting patio stones, and building a garden. But here in southern Ontario at least, all this heat means one thing: eventually the rains will come. When it’s really hot like this, we always get a real banger of a thunderstorm.
I love the rain. When I can’t fall asleep, I turn on my rain app and it works every time. I love watching lightning and hearing the thunder, partly because the worst that normally comes of it is a short power outage and maybe a few limbs down. Rarely we get a tornado. We don’t have shelters or air sirens or anything of the sort – just doesn’t happen that often. (Hey – there had to be a payoff for all that snow!)
When I hear thunder I gather my pen and notebook and sit near an open window. I breathe in the smell of the coming rain, close my eyes to better feel the storm-bringing wind on my face. Those first few drops of warm summer rain hit me and I watch the lightning, writing as fast as I can before I have to shut the window. I always leave it open a crack so I can hear and smell the storm.
When my girls were small, 3 and 5, I noticed dark clouds roll in, and half an hour later the wind picked up. I could smell the coming rain. My girls had left some favorite toys in the backyard, so I sent them outside to retrieve the toys before the rain started. They had just begun the return trip across the yard, toys in hand, when the loudest crack of thunder I’ve ever heard honestly shook the house and rattled the windows.
My babies stood frozen in the yard screaming in terror, hands over their ears. I called to them from the window to come inside, but they just cried for me to rescue them. Another clap of thunder sounded before I could get to the door. The second boom had them running for the house, tears streaming down their faces, toys clutched in their arms. Amid the sniffles and the sobs, I held their hands and walked them to the big picture window in our living room. I crouched down and gathered them close. Their little frames shook and they clutched their toys tight. Outside, we saw people on the street watching the sky, walking faster with their shoulders hunched.
I told my girls thunder was God’s voice reminding all his children to run, get inside quick, the rain is coming. Thunder boomed again. My girls just stared at the people on the street. I’ve wondered what was going through their minds. A few minutes later, a thick drenching curtain of rain streamed off the roofs, down the street, and beat down the plants in my garden. The rain dried their tears.
For at least a year after that, when my girls heard thunder they’d run to the window and yell at the people outside to hurry and get inside. Couldn’t they hear God warning them? It’s going to rain.
Some storms in life God warns us about, he wraps his arms around us and shelters us from the wind and rain and hail. Sometimes we get caught in the storm. Sometimes we see the storm gathering and have no place to take shelter, sometimes the clouds blow in too quickly to take shelter. No one likes getting drenched and pushed by the wind. Worst is that clap of thunder that rattles windows and sends warning shivers down to our toes. Fear kicks in and we flee, no other thought prevails.
Whether you’re getting rained on, or had shelter from the storm, there’s lessons in both places. All that’s left to us is to decide how we’ll handle that storm, how we’ll be shaped by it, how we’ll grow.
What if we looked for the blessings in the rain? What if we looked to the storm for healing? What if we tipped our faces to the heavens, spread out our arms, and danced in the rain? When was the last time you did that? When was the last time you caught a rain drop on your tongue?
Not to make light of hard times, that’s not my point, but God is there in the rain and thunder too. He’s with us in the storms, but it’s easy to forget when we’re frozen in the yard clutching our most precious possessions begging to be rescued. But it can’t rain forever. Storms will look different for different people, and one person’s downpour will be another’s sun shower. Search out the blessings in it because God is there too.
Had to add a little country!