Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1254668-Rain-on-Me
Rated: 13+ · Essay · Personal · #1254668
"When it rains, it pours!" A nonfiction essay for April's Quotation Inspiration contest.
"When it rains, it pours."
~ Morton Salt

I think one of the most wonderful things about being human is the common experience of living. Nobody is ever really alone in it. Everyone understands pain; there is not one person who has not suffered. Everyone understands joy; there is not one person who hasn’t felt it. The Dalai Lama says this is what unifies us as people: We all want to be happy.

Everyone can relate to being a little kid complaining to a parent about an unjust situation. “But it’s not fair,” we protest, and the parent invariably answers, “Life ain’t fair.” And yet we are expected to ‘play fair’ in games and judge others fairly. Rules are ubiquitous and lessons full of moral holes. As children, none of this makes a lot of sense; "life ain't fair" sounds like just another one of those standard parent-isms spoken over and over without any logical explanation. And then, somewhere along the path between being the child and becoming the adult, that mysterious phrase makes its way into our understanding and our vocabulary as well. Life ain’t fair.

One of the things about life that seems the least fair is when clusters of bad things happen all at once. When it rains, it pours. And yes, sometimes it really does pour when it rains. The last five years in particular have poured, in fact, lots of unfair rain upon my life: my best friend’s suicide came in the midst of my post-partum depression and was followed closely by a diagnosis of autism in our son. Then, the steady drizzle of fallout – grief, fear, uncertainty, coping.

But a greater amount of rain has poured equally unfair blessings on my life. I’m sure I didn’t deserve those blessings any more than I did the pain. Because of the very basics of my day-to-day existence – food, clothing, and shelter – I would be considered tremendously lucky by millions of people’s standards. Then consider that I live in a free country, in a beautiful state, on a quiet street, with a car to drive and money in my pocket, and suddenly I seem even luckier. Add to that a million little things that haven’t happened to me – I don’t have cancer and haven’t had my house destroyed in a hurricane. I haven’t gone blind, had a leg amputated, or suffered a mental breakdown. I could go on. The bad stuff is finite; the blessings eternal.

Abraham Lincoln said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” In this world where rain pours both blessings and bad in a seemingly random manner, I think old Abe hit the nail on the head. We can’t change where the rain pours, or how often – but we can change what we do about it, and how we allow it to affect our happiness. Even the bad stuff carries blessings - A devastating breakup frees you to find the man you meet and marry two years later. Some bad things even carry blessings we'll never be able to perceive - Your car is stolen, so you're not in it when the transmission blows two days later and causes the accident that would have killed you.

To find the blessings in every event requires a switch in perception. Instead of lamenting the loss of a friend so close she felt like a soul mate, now I celebrate the fact that I had something so precious in my life for nine years. The kind of friendship we shared comes along less than once a lifetime – some people will never experience it at all. And instead of cursing the autism which has affected my son, now I treasure the differences and gifts it bestows on our family. Autism may have taken his voice, but it has also preserved his innocence and given us an extraordinarily unique individual to raise.

This is all, of course, more difficult than I make it sound. Every one of us takes plenty for granted. Most people I know, myself included, have cried “why me?” at some unfairly terrible experience. But think how much richer our lives would be if we asked “why me?” every day about our blessings as well. If we all practice flowing gratitude into the world for what we do have, I am certain we will quickly become expert at that elusive perception switch – the one that allows us to tap into the joy of being alive in every moment and through every experience...even those that “ain’t fair.”

If it is pouring where you are, and the bad overwhelms, know this: you are not alone. Not now, not ever. Everyone understands the desire for happiness. We may not ever be able to fully understand one another’s unique painful and joyful experiences, but we can all relate on the stronger, deeper level of simply being human.

So next time it rains, share your umbrella. Or better yet – toss the umbrella and dance in the deluge. You’ll never regret choosing joy.

© Copyright 2007 winklett (winklett at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1254668-Rain-on-Me