As I sit at my dining room table, watching the cloudy silver sky through my bay windows, I am sincerely hoping for blessed rain. For some, the notion—of blessed rain—may seem ludicrous if not downright peculiar and dramatic.
Indeed some are endowed with rain on a regular basis. For these individuals, sunshine is a blessing.
I agree that a sunny day is a joy and I would prefer cheery days rather than constant rain. Yet, I find something magical—if not almost mythical—about rain.
Granted, I now live in the desert of Southern Arizona where we have 286 sunny days a year. Yes, I checked.
These many days of constant sunshine and blue sky—accompanied with almost unbearable heat in the Summer—could possibly have a substantial effect on my positive viewpoint about rain.
In Arizona, whenever, it rains, my Facebook page becomes innundated—pardon the pun—with status updates such as “it’s raining!!” Some even post videos of the event to verify that indeed, water is pouring from the sky.
No one gets quite as excited about rain as us, desert dwellers.
However, in the same breath, as much as I love “Blessed Rain,” I don’t find it so blessed after three straight days of downpour. True, three days of rain is not a common occurrence and I—for one—want to keep it that way.
On the occasional instances we have had many days of rain in a row, everything becomes muddy and muggy and just bleh.
Years ago, as in twenty plus, I lived in Northern Arizona where the rainy season—we call Monsoon—delivered a fresh batch of refreshing afternoon rain every day. Indeed, short—on occasion—intense rainstorm fell before the sun made its appearance once more.
Oh, how I loved those Summer showers!
In the southern part of the state, we usually do not get daily rain even during Monsoon season. Here, the storms are both violent and magnificent, but they also remain sporadic. Even though one part of the city may experience torrential rain, another area may be as dry as a bone.
The location of the Museum makes it a phenomenal place to see the dark clouds approaching pregnant with heavy rain and dazzling with their lightning show.
Museum attendants went through the crowd and admonished everyone to take refuge by the front entrance before the storm’s arrival. Reaching shelter early enough, I was able to grab a chair before more patrons came to claim a sit.
I quietly sat there in my chair, in the darkness, waiting for the storm.
The Storm Arrives
The wind whipped my hair around my head, and then, I heard the staccato of the blessed rain approaching, drumming the ground is it went.
I closed my eyes and inhaled deeply the sweet scent of the wetted desert. I felt the wind and the humidity on my face, and I wished for nothing more than to stand in awe of this moment…in silence. I longed to hear the sound of Nature at work.
Except, not everyone was so taken by this—for me, almost—sacred moment.
The crows chatted—too loudly as if unaware of the raging Summer storm,
I want to scream: “will you all just BE QUIET, listen, and just BE?”
Even though the impulse to speak up was strong, I behaved and kept my mouth shut.
No small feat.
As I said before, rain is…well…rain is special.
I am confident that I am not the only one who feels this way. Many will nod in agreement.
As I hoped for rain today, I sat wondering why is rain such a big deal? Why do I sit on my porch wrapped in blankets solely to watch the storm? Why do Summer and Winter rains alike inspire me to be quiet and ponder?
Of course, there are the obvious answers: the plants love the rain, it sounds nice, we need it for survival, etc.
Nevertheless, despite the validity of all these answers, I think there is something deeper there. At the very least, there is more for me although I am not quite sure why at this juncture.
But, it is a sentiment worth exploring further.
Cloudy days make feel…well…they make me feel protected.
Does this sound bizarre even a bit nutty?
I am open to the idea my views touch a bit on the woo-woo or the mystical.
As I ask myself, over and over, why even take the time to write about rain? What is the big whoopty doo about blessed rain as I call it?
An answer does slowly take shape within my mind.
Water is cleansing. We use it to clean anything from our laundry to our bodies. Many religious events involve water—the most common is baptism.
Likewise, rainwater appears to be more than just meaningful than just water. I do not have the compulsion to turn on the faucet to listen to the water pour out. Nonetheless, rain, ocean waves, and streams find me wanting to sit transfixed by their sounds.
Therefore rainwater is more what?
And, then again, maybe so.
Nature does sparkle after a nice rain.
I think…rain makes me feel close to nature and—dare I say it?—part of it. And, Nature for me is healing.
Oh, I am well aware that Nature can be fierce, even a foe to us humans.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes are all displays of Nature we could do without.
And, at the very same time, Nature is life sustaining. Nature is indeed healing.
We come from it and return to it…ashes from ashes and all that.
Out of curiosity, I did some Google searches about rain and lo and behold found questions—and answers—which were even more woo-woo than the ones I just proposed.
I must admit this fact did make me feel a tad better in a strange way. Maybe, I am not so “out there.”
Not quite kooky.
Although, I assume some would disagree.
Nevertheless, I was not entirely comfortable looking at some of the sites which popped up as a result of my searches. And in truth, I don’t need answers from Google.
Rain, when it departs, leaves a clean smell in its wake, a sense of cleanliness, and maybe even a pronouncement of new beginnings and renewing. Rain is life. In the desert, we are accustomed to this fact. Summer rains leave the desert green and lush.
A metaphor for Blessed Rain
I know this though: as humans we often mess us—that’s part of life. Right?
Our messes can be small and rather inconsequential like spilled milk for instance, or they can entirely be life-altering—for us and others.
There are times we all wish we could start over, cleanse ourselves from our less than outstanding, all too human, moments. We want a reset button, a take two—or four, a rewind…
You know what I mean, I am sure of it. One cannot be human and not be acquainted with messiness.
When we messed up, how do we cleanse ourselves from the feelings of guilt? Or, worse, shame and of not being enough?
To answer these questions, I did some digging and soul searching and here is are my answers.
Guilt can be justified.
For instance, you hurt someone’s feelings—even if not on purpose. In this case, feeling guilty may be appropriate. In which case, recognizing the infraction and apologizing is the best thing we can do.
Note that an apology should be genuine which means it should be devoid of a “but.”
The Art of Apology
Indeed a heartfelt apology does not come with a but…which is hard. We long to justify our behaviors to prove to another—and ourselves—we are not rotten, just misguided for a time.
An apology is not always an admittance of wrongdoing. Sometimes, hard words needed to be said. I have apologized before for the hurt the person felt not for what I did or said.
For example, when setting clear and well-defined boundaries, some may feel slighted by them. By all admittance, we have done nothing wrong. Nonetheless, being compassionate, the pain of someone we care deeply about may make us feel bad…and guilty even though we are not responsible for their feelings.
In this case, it can be compassionate, and help us release our guilt, to apologize for the pain we see without apologizing for our boundaries.
“I am sorry my choices hurt you. I apologize for the pain this situation brings up for you.”
In this case, our apology is an acknowledgment of the pain someone else is feeling. In the end, they must own their emotions.
An apology can also be very justified: “I am sorry I was a buffoon and said what I said.”
Note that even if we had a bad day, which could account for our crummy behavior, let’s not fall in the “but” trap. Tacking an “I had a bad day” at the end of our mea culpa is akin to trying to excuse our behavior.
Don’t do it.
When our “sorry” has been accepted, we may then have the opportunity to explain ourselves further. Then again, we may not.
Forgiveness and Compassion
Being human is not a carte blanche for being a nincompoop. Messing up is a given. However, hurting others should be rare.
Repeatedly asking forgiveness for the same infractions losses much of its power over time. True repentance involves change, not just an “I’m sorry.”
Indeed, while being human does infer we will stumble up, it does not give us the right to mindlessly tromp through life uncaring and unaware about the consequences of our choices, words, and deeds.
Forgiveness and compassion are the necessary “condiments” of all good relationships. This fact also includes our relationship with ourselves. We too are worthy of self-forgiveness and self-compassion.
Beating ourselves up for our infractions is a complete waste of precious energy and time.
Feeling sorry for yourself won’t change what is. Learn the lessons which your mistakes birthed. However, you can only gather the wisdom of the teaching if you have eyes to see and an open heart.
Leave ruminating to ruminants. We—humans—don’t have the stomach(s) for it.
Our mistakes can be the catalyst to change. However, they can only be so if we are willing to learn rather than live under self-condemnation.
Another thing to remember, we are not reduced to one mess up or ten for that matter. While we are responsible for our actions, they don’t make who we are. Yes, the sum total of our daily, consistent behaviors can say a lot about someone, but one crummy—all too human—moment does not define anyone.
We are not our mistakes.
Shame is an entirely different animal than guilt.
Shame makes us want to hide under a rock or in a cave. Shame calls for darkness because when we are in shame, we feel something is intrinsically wrong with us at our very core. We no longer feel that we did something wrong, but rather that something is wrong with us.
Therefore, how do we overcome shame?
Do the very thing you do not want to do: bring it into the light.
First, we must be able to recognize our shame triggers and our behaviors when we are in the midst of shame. Second, Dr. Brené Brown—a shame researcher—admonishes we complete these three steps: talk to ourselves like we talk to someone we love, reach out to someone we trust and who has earned the right to hear our story, and lastly, tell our story.
Like Summer rains, with awareness, these actions can help us start afresh and learn the necessary lessons. These lessons can be transformative.
In the meantime, I will wait for blessed rain…and the clean smell of the desert after a downpour.