My friend, Diana, gave me a lovely plaque with the following quote: “Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about dancing in the rain.” I placed this plaque in an area in my home where I see it multiple times a day. I often pause to reflect upon the meaning of this saying, attributed to Vivian Green. Many people I know are chronic complainers. They complain about the weather (it’s too hot, it’s too cold, it rains too much, it doesn’t rain enough); they complain about politics, societal wrongs, and people who look different than they do; indeed, they seem to complain about almost anything. I complain, too, of course. But, I try hard not to complain about things over which I have no control. When it rains, for example, I often attempt (although usually, my efforts in this regard are futile) to defuse people’s complaint by saying “My grass and plants really need the rainwater.” When David’s and my business is experiencing a drought, in terms of revenue, I try to look ahead for a time when we will be complaining about being too busy. When David and I become exhausted from responding to another emergency related to his frail, elderly parents, I remark how much I miss both of my parents, who are both deceased. It really comes down to how one looks at life. Back to rain: When one lives in Florida or visits our state, one should expect it to rain. Some days, it rains, then the sun comes out, then it rains again, and so on. As the reader might expect, I am prepared with both sunglasses and an umbrella, at any given time! Here’s another quote I like, this one attributed to Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.” In other words, one can dance in the rain, hope one’s luggage will eventually turn up, and laugh hysterically (as I do!) when fighting with a tangle of Christmas lights. Or, one can whine about the rain, cry over lost luggage, and become angry at the mess someone caused by putting away the Christmas lights haphazardly. The outcome is the same: the rain still happens, the luggage is still lost, and the lights, well, they’re still tangled. I choose to dance in the rain! How about you?
We’ve all sure had more than our share of rain this year. Literally and figuratively. Thinking of the literal type, we’ve had storms, with and without names in a long time. Hawaiians have 200 words for rain – and different types of rain. Jake Shimabukuru, ukelele player extraordinaire, talked about them at a concert we attended a few years ago and how often, due to Hawaiians’ ability to tolerate rain as a frequent, daily, occurrence, he can walk in the rain without thinking about it most of the time. The exceptions being tropical storms, or as he learned on the mainland, when it is also cold, windy or otherwise miserable. Thus, perhaps one’s ability to dance depends on type of rain. Sometimes, a little rain is fine and cools one off when, for example, working in the yard or taking a walk on a hot day. Other times, times we know too well in Florida, massive storms create flooding and damage life and property. Those experiences make dancing in the rain more difficult. With multiple umbrellas nearby, I try to weather the storm (sorry, had to pun that) as best as possible. Preparations and supplies help us weather such storms to minimize the destruction or potential for destruction just as preparing for any contingency reduces the impact on life, if not property. It may be as simple has having extra sets of Christmas lights to get through a tangled mess (as one who recently put up thousands of Christmas lights). Or, it may be having a plan to replace lost luggage contents the night before a research project or client meeting. Action over panic and complaining is much preferred in life, even if you can’t dance in a thunderstorm.