The Day I Stopped Talking About Dancing in the Rain and Actually Danced In It
There are lots of quotes out there about “dancing in the rain.” Most of them go something like: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about dancing in the rain.” This quote, and variations of it, is credited to many different people…so who knows who really said it first? I know I’ve quoted it and made up my own version of the quote more times than I can count. But yesterday I got to thinking about the quote and I realized…I have never literally danced in the rain. I’ve encouraged other people to, but I’ve never done it myself. And yes, I know it’s largely metaphorical and people say it to inspire others to live life to the fullest and seize the day…but in all the talking about seizing the day, are we forgetting to actually get out there and SEIZE it?
So, as fate would have it, yesterday afternoon the perfectly sunny July sky suddenly became overtaken by clouds and the rain came pouring down. Seized by spontaneous inspiration, I threw on some raggedy clothes and my Ugg boots and raced outside. As I was descending the steps of my apartment, something kind of cool happened. The rain that had been pouring down in buckets suddenly calmed and only light sprinkles fell. Determined to see my plan through, I looked up to the heavens. “Let it pour down, God,” I whispered with hope in my heart. The minute the words left my mouth (literally!), the sky suddenly opened up and big, fat, giant raindrops started falling once again. It’s almost as though God saw my heart and my desire to celebrate His miraculous work and wanted to honor that. I had to laugh at His rapid answer to my short, simple prayer. (Then again…maybe it’s the short, simple prayers that He’s looking for more of.)
There was nothing left to do but dance.
So I did. I danced in the rain, my arms outstretched, my face turned to the sky, my hair and clothes and body soaked within minutes. I stomped in puddles and I did little joyful jigs and I reveled in the feel of the cool raindrops on my skin. I think it was the first time in my life that I didn’t run from the rain. Instead of my usual protective umbrella and frantic darting from shelter to shelter to keep from getting hit by a single raindrop…I celebrated every single drop. And it was simply magical. A few neighbors drove by and stared at me curiously, but I didn’t care. Not even the oddest look or the most taunting laugh from a passerby could stop my dance of delight. I was completely and totally lost in the moment. And only by actually dancing in the rain did the true meaning of “dance in the rain” finally hit me.
What if we welcomed every moment; the happy and the sad, the good and the bad, the sunny days and stormy nights, as just another part of our journey? What if we stopped fighting the down times and allowed them to prepare us for the up times? What if we stopped running from the rain and started dancing in it?
Normally I would view a rainstorm as an inconvenience, a nuisance, a roadblock stopping me from getting to where I need to go…but what if that very rainstorm IS where I need to go? What if there’s joy to be had, right there in the muddy, slippery, stormy trenches of life? What if instead of worrying about the rain messing up my hair and my outfit and my plans…I just surrendered to the beautiful mess? I think that’s what it’s all about, this “dancing in the rain” thing. Taking every moment of life and looking for the beauty in it. I’m starting to think the darkest, rainiest, most heartbreaking moments of life also hold some of the most precious, joyful, beautiful moments of life. The rain reminds us that we’re human. The dark reminds us of our light. And the heartbreak reminds us that we’re ALIVE.
I may not dance in every rainstorm I ever experience for the rest of my life, but you know what? I won’t run from them anymore, either. Once you’ve experienced the reckless abandon of opening up your arms and surrendering wholly to the moment and whatever it may bring, it’s impossible to go back. And why would I even want to? I can’t stop the rain from falling and I can’t make the sun start shining, but I can pray. I can smile. I can dance. I can sing. I can rejoice. I can surrender. And I can know that I’ll be okay, whatever the day and the weather may bring.