It’s often said that when it rains, it pours. The torrential downpours we receive in life can be overwhelming, especially when it seems that so many drops of change are falling all at once. Lately, as I have suffered through a painful break-up and the recent deaths of two loved ones, I’ve noticed how so many of my dear friends and family have gone through their own tragedies and difficult life-changes. Often times, when faced with such major transitions, it can be downright scary, just trying to figure out how to wade through all the darkness and despair and emerge to the light of the other side.
Liz and I recently discussed the nature of these major transitions; namely, how to prepare for them when they inevitably crash in from the sky, like large chunks of hail. The answer that immediately arose in my mind was this:
Being able to withstand those torrential downpours in life might simply involve our peaceful acceptance of the many minor changes, transitions, annoyances and inconveniences that life presents to us on a daily basis. We prepare our selves for the “big one” through an accumulative effect of successfully dealing with the “light-weight” issues; the flat tires, the spilled milk, the person who cut us off on the highway, the cake that fell in the oven, the rained-out day at the park, the dog who pooed on the sofa, so on and so forth. I believe all these everyday events are there to help us prepare for the more significant events that inevitably sprinkle into our lives, here and there.
If we look deeply into it, we’ll see that the major events are not the real torrential downpours. Due to their intense nature, it can certainly feel like that while we’re going through them but, in fact, those major transitions only sprinkle into our life here and there. It’s not every day that we lose a loved one or part ways with our spouse or partner. Those things happen only here and there. The real downpours happen each and every day with all the minor disappointments we face and it seems that we, often times, underestimate what we can learn from these minor “tragedies”.
Each and every minor annoyance, inconvenience, change and transition is ripe with lessons to be learned. In those everyday raindrops, we find a treasure-trove of wisdom to be gained from peaceful acceptance. Each and every one of these daily showers is there to help us prepare for the storms on the horizon. For instance, if we can peacefully accept the fact that the dog pooed on the sofa, we’ll simply understand that the dog did what a dog does; poo on sofas. We’ll accept it, clean up the mess and get on with our day. If we, instead, stand about yelling at the dog for being a dog, ranting and raving, blinded from reality, the poo will remain there and our entire house will stink like shit.
Each and every drop of life’s daily rain is a lesson; an opportunity to gain a little more wisdom and to cultivate a little more compassion, for our selves and for all those around us. If we miss out on the opportunity to learn from those everyday drops we, in fact, are missing out on the bulk of life. Each and every time we mindfully and peacefully accept and learn from life’s minor pitfalls, we help to prepare our selves for those few-and-far-between, yet nevertheless inevitable, torrential downpours. In essence, through peaceful acceptance of life’s minor disappointments, we create an accumulative effect of even-mindedness; a mind that no longer so quickly reacts, a mind that remains calm and peaceful when we find the poo on the sofa.
Acceptance of these minor events helps to build more and more strength in the in the mind; a peaceful strength which will help us face life’s major transitions with perhaps a little more ease. This doesn’t mean that we won’t still experience the pain, suffering, despair, grief, sorrow, depression, anxiety and anger that is part and parcel of life’s major transitions. We’ll still face all of that and, in fact, we should not deny our selves the right to experience it. In that sorrow and despair is also found the great treasure-trove of wisdom and compassion. But, having successfully met with and processed through life’s daily drops of rain, we will perhaps face life’s torrential downpours with little more grace and a little more dignity.
These daily drops of rain have the potential to infuse our entire path with a tremendous amount of wisdom and compassion. Let’s not waste one, single drop. Lets, instead, enjoy the showers that grow the flowers.
Dedicated to my beautiful niece and nephews: Nichole Davis, Mike Metcalf and Matt Metcalf, as well as to the memory of their beloved mother, Kelly Denise Metcalf.