Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain. (Vivian Greene)
Earlier this week, a new friend and I were commiserating over the joys of constant rainstorms with small children. It means cancelled playdates, indoor games, and anything else we can find to wear our children out on a summer afternoon. In the midst of our conversation, I brought up this quote (one of my favorites) as I joked about what it was like to live in a place with a higher water table than Seattle for three years. What I didn’t tell her is why I love this quote so much.
When I was a senior in high school, all of my female classmates and I participated in our annual dance festival. Though many others groups participated, we were the stars and had to do the most important dance. Which also happened to be the most complicated one, especially with approximately eighty young women trying to be coordinated with one another.
The day before the festival, we were at our final rehearsal. Though we could see dark clouds on the horizon, when our choreographer asked if we wanted to run the dance one more time – we jumped at the opportunity.
As the orchestral piece completed its introductory notes, we felt it – one drop. Two drops. Three drops. And then, well… the sky fell out.
Rather than to run for the hills and try to find shelter, which was at least half a mile away, someone began to giggle. And then another. And another. Until all of us were laughing hysterically as we danced in the rain. (And the laughter didn’t stop a few minutes later as we all slipped our way up the muddy hill back to the school.)
So yes, I quite literally have lived this quote on a very tangible level.
Even better though, I have also lived this quote on a much deeper level, too.
I am only thirty-six, and I am very privileged in so many ways. And yet, my life has been filled with as much death and illness and tragedy as many sixty year-olds I know. Confession time: yes, I have had periods where my faith was gone. I could not feel God’s presence. And joy felt a million miles away.
At those time, I could not stand to hear all the “traditional sayings” of the faithful: it will get better. We’re not supposed to question our path. Or, my personal favorite, God’s in charge. (That one is a personal soapbox of mine for another day.)
Ultimately, what I have learned over the years are two key things. First, when everything else seems to have fallen apart, remember that we are loved more than we can imagine. If you can’t believe it, find someone who will keep telling you that essential message until you do. Love is the only thing that matters in the end – yes it can hurt, but it also heals and transforms and teaches and renews.
The second thing I have learned is that life will always keep moving forward. Keep throwing curve balls. Everything will change, sometimes with not even a moment’s notice. So we must be flexible enough to adapt. To find moments of laughter. To seek glimmers of hope. And to dance even when the sky begins to fall.
Perhaps that is the greatest wisdom of this quote – life will be hard. Storms will come, but they will not last. You will. Because you are loved. You are essential. And you, my friend, are stronger than any hurricane.