Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Don’t Let the Rain Dampen Your Spirits

In “The Rainy Day” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Into each life some rain must fall.”  At times we pray for rain, the refreshing life-essential drops that come from the heavens to end droughts. Other times, when we have an important outdoor activity we don’t want it to rain. We wonder why it can’t hold off for just a while longer. Is that too much to ask?

Labor Day is our day for our big Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraiser for Jim’s team. This was our 17th year to do the “traffic stop.” It seems the day is usually unbearably hot, and this year looked to be more of the same. Then, the forecast called for heat and a chance of rain.

“Will you still do the stop if it rains, or will you reschedule,” my niece asked the day before.

“We can’t reschedule it. If it rains, we’ll stand in the rain. If we have a thunderstorm, we’ll wait it out in our cars,” I said. In all the previous years, we only had one rainy day. It was a blessing in disguise because the intermittent, gentle showers made for a cooler day.

As we began setting up our signs, a few gentle drops fell. Not bad, I thought. Suppose to last only a short while and move out. Soon, the rain began falling a little harder, and eventually, those of us who brought umbrellas stood beneath them. Only Shelly and Chris didn’t have umbrellas. Chris was wearing a raincoat, but Shelly just stood alongside the road with her collection can without protection against the rain that stalled over our heads.

I glanced down the street and saw a lady coming out of her house carrying a smiley-face umbrella. She talked to Shelly for a few minutes and handed her the umbrella. This woman had lived in the house for eleven years and noticed us every year and admired our tenacity to continue through the hot days in the past. She gave Shelly a donation and insisted she take the umbrella. The woman told Shelly that her sister was only in her fifties and had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

The relentless rain fell on our “parade” until the last half hour. Water was running down the ditches, and the umbrellas didn’t keep the rain from soaking us. I didn’t mind the wet shirt and capris nearly as much as sloshing around with wet socks and shoes. Hey, it was still better than one-hundred degree heat. We didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits.  

In his poem, Longfellow isn’t speaking of physical rain. He is speaking of the dark times when we cling to the past and “days are dark and dreary.” It makes me think of a conversation I had with a caregiver recently. She was battling depression and felt overwhelmed taking care of her husband who has Alzheimer’s. Yet, while we talked, I could tell she had the courage and indomitable spirit to keep on keeping on.

We all deal with our own personal rainy days. Sometimes they are gentle showers, and we can just shrug them off. We can even soldier through those steady downpours without much ado. Then there are those times when the wind is gusting, the thunder is booming, and a torrential downpour flash floods all over our last ray of optimism.

Before you let rainy, turbulent times dampen your spirits, remember the sun is still above those pesky clouds. Sunshine after a rain is glorious; rays beam down like the word of God, and the rainbow promises better days to come.

Copyright © September 2015 by L.S. Fisher

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