When I was a child, my mother used to tell me about all kinds of rain she had seen in her life... she seemed to have so many life experiences that I couldn’t believe it. It seemed like myth when she told me she had seen it rain on one side of the yard and not the other... or when she said she had seen the sun shine and the rain rain at the same time. She told me about great storms she had seen--especially if I was afraid of a thunderstorm, which I often was. She would allay my fears by telling me she had seen much worse storms and she would describe them.
I would wonder when I would have the opportunity to see these various types of rain. I have thought about it often in my life--the times she told me about all types of rain--and I always recall these fond memories when I hear a clap of thunder.
During a rain storm the other day, as I listened to the falling rain hitting the roof, I found myself thinking about it as a metaphor for life. In life, as in the weather, there are different types of rain; different types of sorrows. Sometimes we hit a patch in our lives where there is joy and pain so acutely intermingled that it is like watching the rain fall through the rays of sunshine. That type can be quite confusing, but oddly comforting.
There are other times when we see a little rain here or there, now and again, and we know instinctively that it’s just a hiccup--a bad day--and that when we awake the sun will be beaming and the wind will rustle through our hair and we’ll shine on another day.
Other times still we feel like the rain never ends and the thunder rolls as loud as it might. At those times we might need a mom, or a friend, to tell us about the storms that they have seen that are much worse. We may need them to tell us this one, like the bad ones they have seen, will be over soon. And that all that water that was rushing the streets and the thunder that seemed so defending and the lightening that was like to kill us will all be a distant memory.
But during any rain storm, it is also important to remember that just like the earth and the plants need rain, so do our souls. That the sweet is made more sweet by the sour, and that we grow enormously through that patches where the rain is the thickest. Sure, none of us are looking for sorrow to enter our lives... just as most of us would not prefer a rainy day to blue sky day.
Just so, we need them all the same.