Wishing in the rain

Rain always seems to come at the most inopportune times.

And it certainly doesn’t go away fast enough.

My cousin Jill and her daughter, Zoe, were in town over the weekend for Zoe’s soccer games, and my mom and I made somewhat of a trek out to go watch her play on Saturday afternoon. I had checked the forecast earlier in the day, and it claimed it would be cloudy and warm all day.

There’s a lesson I continue to learn yet never fully learn from at times: You can’t trust the system.

As we got closer to the soccer fields, the skies turned a bit gloomy, and we had to face an inevitable truth: Rain was on the way. On occasion, I’m like a cat in that I don’t like to get wet, especially when I really want to stay dry. Plus, I had a hair appointment earlier that morning, so my hair was clean and had that fresh just-went-to-the-salon smell. They have magical stuff there that just smells so good. Obviously I really didn’t want to get my hair wet (not that I ever do want to).

Thanks to reality, we can’t always get what we want.

We parked and got out of the car, and we immediately realized we weren’t properly prepared. It was chillier than expected, and I wasn’t even wearing socks. Keds are not very warm shoes, and I don’t like to have the rain on my shoes. (Can I get an “Amen” from all of my Coyote Ugly fans out there?)

We’re more drenched than this pic leads you to believe.

We finally found the field where Zoe’s game was, and as soon as we arrived, so did the downpour. There was a canopy over the bleachers, but the rain was coming in at a weird sideways angle, so I wouldn’t use the word “effective” to describe this covering. I had the hood of my jacket over my head, but that was pretty useless, too. The jacket wasn’t exactly made for rain—or protecting a girl and her hair from it. The people around us who were smart enough to bring umbrellas couldn’t even shield us. No matter what we did, there was no way for us to escape the rain at that soccer game.

Even though we were already pretty drenched, I had mixed feelings about the walk (run) back to the car. Sure, the car would be warmer and drier than the open and somewhat exposed situation we had on our hands at the time, but I really didn’t want to leave the slight protection we had underneath the tent.

But we had to get back to the haven that was the car somehow.

When we left, we took off running, but my mom was struggling. She claimed her legs were numb and then brought up what I thought was a silly observation: “We’re already wet! What’s the point?”

I guess sometimes you simply have to face the truth that you’re in a rainstorm that’s worse than you want it to be.

When I was sitting on those cold, wet bleachers, there was a point when I was simply wishing to be anywhere else—somewhere dry and warm and cozy. But all of that wishing did nothing but make me feel more miserable. I wasn’t even paying as much attention to the actual soccer game as I should have been because I was too busy focused on unsuccessfully trying to shield myself from the sideways rain.

But you can’t let the rain blind you from all of the goodness around you.

The girls were still playing soccer (and having some fun in that weather), the parents were cracking us up with colorful and sarcastic commentary, my mom was right there with me with her usual positive attitude shining through, and I was getting an opportunity to be there for family I don’t get to see very often.

We all have our own rain storms in life—some are short and don’t cause too much damage, while others seem like they will never end and just keep pouring, causing way more pain than we’d ever think possible. But we can’t just sit on the bleachers and wish for things to be different. It’s important to recognize the good things around you; it’s important not to let the rain blind you from the things that truly matter; it’s important to keep pressing on toward your haven, no matter how soaked you get along the way; and it’s important never to give up.

Hilary Duff once poignantly sang, “Let the rain fall down and wake my dreams,” and I think homegirl is on to something: Sometimes you need a little rain in your life that you have to endure to get your heart’s desires.

Even if that means getting your hair wet in the process.

Sunny rain

So many times in life, we focus on even the tiniest bad things when they are amidst so much greatness.

Like a bit of rain during sunshine.

Last Thursday evening, it started raining as I left dinner and was on my way home. The sun was still out, though, and I normally don’t like the combination of rain without dark skies accompanying it, but for some reason I was really enjoying it. I began thinking about how there have been a lot of times in life where I have let seemingly negative things overshadow all of the good things around me. But, as I drove through the neighborhoods, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the whole picture was. And it wasn’t some huge storm sweeping through that wreaked havoc or had flashes of lightning and clashes of thunder–it was simply fairly weak rain that couldn’t put a damper on that peaceful night sky.

It was such a short, small moment, but it really gave me a perspective I needed at the time.

Can’t even see the rain

I usually get tired of hearing trite expressions, but one of them–which is actually a quality quote–popped into my head, and I let it stay there for a while: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” I know a lot of the time when it rains, my first thought is that I don’t want to get my hair wet. Shallow? Yes. But true, nonetheless. There are so many more significant things in life than dry, unfrizzy hair, though.

Like living.

As I was driving yesterday, I noticed that my car was almost to 100,000 miles. I guess I thought that was sort of a big deal, and I wanted to see it turn that number just for the sake of seeing it happen. But I got caught up in my own car concert as I was belting out some T-Swizzle, and I completely missed it. When I looked down to see it was already in the six-figure range, I was briefly disappointed. Then, I thought to myself, “Who the crap cares?” I mean, why should it matter if I see that number? I don’t even like numbers in increments of five. I had wasted a few seconds of my life getting upset about an unimportant event that has no lasting value in my life. You know what was more important? Singing “All Too Well” as if I were performing for the attendees at the Grammys.

Life brings with it a lot of things that are really difficult to handle. There are some things that seem so much bigger than we are, and they are, which makes it even more challenging to try to find the sunshine in the middle of all of the rain. It’s not always easy to be dealt an unwanted hand–whether it’s illness, losing someone you love, having your heart broken, or any other number of events in life that leave us questioning why we are standing under such huge clouds of storms that just won’t let up. They seem so huge and daunting that it makes it hard to think we will ever make it through with any ounce of hope.

But, there is Someone who is bigger than all of it, and He can take away pain when it seems like it won’t go away.

When I was a sophomore at Texas A&M, I was supposed to go to a concert with a guy, and he bailed on me the day of the show. I was definitely not happy about that–I had really been looking forward to the concert, which was on a school night in Dallas. Thankfully, my brother said he would go with me after I called and practically begged him. But I spent way too much of the three-hour car ride thinking about how upset I was over some guy who didn’t even care. I ended up having a great time with my brother, and I should have been more thankful of the quality memory I was getting to have with my childhood hero. He had cared enough to sacrifice whatever he would have been doing that night and gone with his younger sister to see a band he had never even heard of play live.

He was my sunshine that drowned out the rain.

As I made the trek back to College Station and got home a little before 3 a.m. so I could make it to my 8 a.m. class that morning, I have to admit that I hadn’t forgotten about being upset. Looking back now, it was so silly. I was making something out to be more important than it really was. In the big picture, the fact that one guy didn’t go to a concert with me really wasn’t such a bad thing after all. I got to hang out and catch up with my brother, and I felt so honored that he was there for me.

I know my life isn’t going to be perfect, and I am certainly going to have more storms come my way. But I don’t want to stress out about what troubles may come because of some rain or lightning or thunder; rather, I want to face those adversities head on and, as Taylor Swift wisely says, “dance in a storm in my best dress, fearless.”

Because even when I am dancing by myself I know I will never be dancing alone.