. . .some rain must fall.

It’s a rainy Sunday and I couldn’t be happier about it. The rain is providing a gentle shower for all things green and growing on our farm–the meadow grasses and flowers, the trees, the veggie garden, the lawn and my perennial flower beds. All thirsty and in need of a good cleansing. It’s a good thing, especially since I have weeding to get to and our clay soil dries around the weeds like bricks and it’s impossible to pull them out. The rain softens the soil making them easy to pull.

In a very elemental sense the rain could be an analogy for the irritants and troubles that come into our daily lives. The soft and gentle rain, like the rain we’re getting today is like all the small problems that plague everyone every day. The crabby or nosy neighbor. The broken washer or dryer. A flat tire. No big deal, just small irritants that poke and dig at our peace of mind. We deal with them and move on. If there are enough of them however they can turn into an overwhelming flood, just like a gentle rain that goes on for too long.

Sometimes the rain comes in a quick and powerful burst, a deluge that we can barely see through. And then it’s gone. The earth has a more difficult time dealing with this type of rain. The hard-baked soil needs to be slowly softened in order to absorb the rain. In a quick heavy deluge a great deal of the needed moisture runs off before it can be used. I liken these storms to small catastrophes like a broken arm or leg–painful, quick, but (usually) no lasting repercussions. Harder for us to deal with but we get through it.

Then there’s the rain that comes in a violent storm. Wind, hail, flash flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes–you get the picture. These are storms that leave lasting damage and are the most difficult to deal with because they devastate whatever they touch. The death of a loved one, a serious illness, divorce, the loss of our home. Catastrophic events that change the direction of our lives forever. Most people recover and find a way to move on while others are permanently damaged.

No one escapes this life without a little rain. How we deal with it is the only thing we have control over. The gentle showers help build our self-confidence: “hell yes, I fixed the broken washer.”   Each small problem we overcome gives us the courage to tackle larger problems. Every small victory, no matter how small, boosts our belief that we can find a way to deal with whatever comes our way. Don’t knock the small irritants in life–just like plants need the rain we need challenges in order to grow.

It’s how we deal with the big storms though that truly show us who we are. Do we fall apart and withdraw, leave the burden to someone else? Or do we step up, no matter how difficult, no matter how it tears us apart, and do what needs to be done? Do we rebuild our lives or do we wallow in self-pity and give up? I don’t care how much of a wreck someone’s life may be, there is always a way out and up if there is the will to find it.

I’m not saying the big storms are easy to get through. Sometimes they last for years and are extremely difficult to recover from, like an abusive childhood. I believe that we all possess a core that transcends whatever life throws our way. That core is a steady rock. That core is the spark of life that animates us. It’s our lodestone, our divine self that is always with us no matter what is happening in our lives. It’s there whether we believe in it or not. It’s there whether we make good or crappy decisions.

I’ve been fortunate to catch brief glimpses of this solid core, this spark of our divinity, and I can tell you that once you’ve found it the storms become easier to handle.

Dig deep. Find your strength. The storms are going to come. We cannot avoid them all. Into each life a little rain must fall.

PHOTO: Lighthouse, Martha’s Vineyard, copyright Gunsmith Photo