Rain, Coffee, and Water Bugs
Last week, upon noticing the eve of our house had created a stream of water during a rainstorm, Carter said, “I wish I could go out in the rain”.
To which I replied, “Go ahead”.
After Michelle advised that he should change into a bathing suit, he ran down the steps that led from our back deck, and began turning cartwheels, running around in circles, and shouting with joy. Just before this happened, Michelle and I had a conversation about the miracle that is rain. At that moment, I realized what a miracle Carter was also. He is a miracle for many reasons, but what I noticed about him that day, was miracle enough to change me somehow.
In the time it took for him to make his way into the backyard, he was able to forget all about everything that had brought him to that point in his life, he was not worried at all about what would happen in the future, and he just enjoyed being where he was. Maybe a simple exercise, but this is why people buy meditation CDs, read self-help books, and pay to go on retreats. What is so complicated for adults to understand was accomplished in a matter of seconds by a twelve year old boy, just enjoying the rain.
I did not change into a bathing suit, but I did run out into the rain with him for a little while. We ran, we wrestled, we smiled and we laughed without reservation or worry. Our only distraction was the laughter we heard from Michelle, who professed she could not believe we were doing what we were doing, but I suspect she could have easily imagined it happening. Nearby lightening eventually drove us inside. We both are sniffling this week. Perhaps it is unrelated. But the remembrance of the experience will last for some time in each of us.
The lesson for me was that at any point in my life, whether stressful or full of perceived ease, none of it matters to the point that it cannot be returned to, at a later time, in some way. That when you see a rainstorm, and you want to be in the rain, sometimes you just have to jump in and forget about all of the other seemingly important things in life. There are not enough rainstorms in my life. There are not enough points where I just forget about what has happened and worry not for what will happen. Sometimes I even worry that I am worrying too much. Or worse, I worry that I am not worried enough.
The world will go on without me. It was here before me and it will be here when I am gone. My hope is that something I have said, or done, will make an impact on the life of another the way Carter playing in the rain made an impact on me. When we spend time with ourselves we seem so very important. When we step back and become an observer of our lives, we might see what really is so very important. The only thing I have wanted, after I got a thing I wanted, was more. The only time I was truly grateful was when I realized I had more than what I could have dreamed.
It was not that I could not dream of more things material, financial, or in the way of prestige and power, but it was that the small miracles of life are often times what go unnoticed. My next breath, the look of a loved one, a kind word conveyed by a stranger or a friend, or even the gift of being able to choose to think of a good thing or dwell on a bad thing. And coffee.
This is another development in the goodness of things at our house. We live about a mile or two from a grocery store and Carter has yet to refuse a walk to buy coffee. We talk, we see water bugs, and we grow together one step at a time. Why am I compelled to write on such things? Because for me, these are what matter. For you, there is no doubt something else. We enjoy different things, but my hope is that you are ready at all times to tell others, yourself, and the universe, what is going well for you. I am working on that list now, and it is changing my life.
Life is not a job interview. You do not have to prove your worth to life. You do not have to constantly improve to ensure you are promoted or are in line for a raise. Those you love, those activities you love, those songs you love to hear, are there for you. You are only to enjoy them. Life may be feel like a job at times, but there is no supervisor other than yourself. We would do well to change the criteria we use to decide whether we are doing it well. Take deep breaths, give yourself a break, and know that you are a manifestation of what the Divine believes the world needs at this moment. Not a project or an intern, but exactly what the world needs at this moment.