“Rain, Rain Go Away” is a song most children learn from early on. We sang it just last month. In a desert area where we rarely receive rain, it rained for nearly two weeks. We are used to warm sunshine splashing over our faces almost every day of the year. With the rain falling, my children were lost. They had little connection to a world where rain kept them from chasing their friends around outside or daily bike rides! Again, with the frustration of being stuck indoors, I tried to instill in them that sometimes you have to settle with a small burden so you will truly appreciate the good things you normally have.
When I awoke from my stroke, I heard two intimidating comments from two different physicians. One said, “We don’t know if you will ever walk again.” The other plainly stated, “Once you have most of your strength back, work hard to keep it. It will be easy for you to end up back in a wheelchair. Next time you are in one, you may not be able to get back out.” Harsh statements delivered from both of these men. Statements, to this day, I am immensely grateful for hearing. If they had said, “Hang on for a year. Then you will probably be better enough to walk on your own.” I would never have worked hard enough to walk as well as I do now. Their intimidating words encouraged and pushed me to work harder than I ever had before. I celebrated four years later by entering a four mile walk. These people pushed me. I chose to stand up and push back. I enjoy walking now more than ever before. Once you have lost this skill, learning it again gives walking an entirely new value.
My husband is a member of the United States Navy. He has spent many months away from our family. Often, he has left for a deployment which used to be a six month time away from the United States on a particular mission. On one such deployment, we received two extensions. Imagine telling your little daughters, “Daddy is not going to be home for another two weeks. They have to keep Daddy out now for an additional three weeks.” On the day I received notice that his ship would be extended for an eight month deployment, two months longer than normal, I went to the store. A lady behind me was talking on her cell phone. She was complaining to the receiver of her call that her husband was late coming home yesterday and he would be late getting home again. I heard her say that he was supposed to be home at 4:30. Tonight and last night though, they kept him at work until 5:00! She was so angry about this and how it disrupted their schedule. I felt pity that a thirty minute delay would cause such stress, but I also felt a twinge of envy. I would have loved a thirty minute delay rather than the two month delay. Ah, if only this lady could have seen my emails explaining how my husband’s boss was keeping him “late”. I left that store feeling sorrier for her stress than anything else.
A neuro-ophthalmologist informed me I would probably never get back my lost sight. Having this knowledge, I have truly gained an appreciation for everything that I see. Rarely do I take beautiful sights for granted. It is also an assumed I will probably not get back my ability to recognize familiar faces. Now I stand and soak in what my eyes are able to see. Even if the image will not stay with me, I know that I still have this very moment to enjoy.
Returning to the rain, I am pleased to announce that we made it through the brutal days of rainfall. We persevered and stood watch by the window until the first break of sunlight fell on to our driveway. Many of my neighbors did the exact same thing. In a rush, garage doors all around us opened and children rushed out to stomp in the disappearing puddles as the sunlight once again warmed their faces. Hold on to your burdens. Look at them with a patient, hopeful perspective. Someone will always have it worse; someone will always have it better. My hope though when you find your way out of your current challenge, something better will be waiting for you as you arrive stronger on the other side. I know that this has been true for my life. It was even true with the recent rainfall. After all, this is the double rainbow that was eager to greet our families as we raced to stand in the waiting sun. I was left with this one thought, “We are lucky to have rain. For it is only after this inconvenience, will we be blessed enough to have this reward of such a beautiful rainbow waiting just for us to say we have made it through yet another storm back to the sunshine!