Tips to Overcoming a Change of Plans
by Christie Perkins
I have always loved the rain. I like how it dusts off blades of grass and paints everything Crayola green. I love the way it smells and how the chill of cool fresh air brushes my cheeks and curls around the back of my neck. I love the tap dance of rain on cement and the grand applause from the rooftop.
I stop everything I am doing, rush to find a blanket, and hustle the kids outside. We know it will only last a moment. Poof! Umbrellas pop and hover and stories emerge. I flip out a smile when I watch temperature resistant kids submerge bare feet in puddles. Goose bump inspired thoughts cause me to tug my blanket in just a bit tighter.
Really, it’s just a favorite tradition passed on down to the kids: these rain concerts are a cherished family memory. In these brief moments as a kid, my brothers were less annoying. Yes. I actually enjoyed hanging with them. We would laugh and a sudden hype would flair the air.
I love the rain. Did I mention that?
When Trials Rain Down
So yes, I realize that my rose colored glasses occasionally need a good cleaning. I know. Rain also has the reputation for ruining plans. April showers comes quite literally for me. Here’s a quick look:
April 2013: The Downpour. At first raindrop, all else comes crashing down. It started with the death of my (unofficially) adopted neighbor grandma. Found my cancerous lump. Ultrasound discovering 7 lumps. Non squishy biopsy (not good). Death of my Grandpa. I hadn’t seen or connected with him in years… and now he was gone.
April 2014: The Rain Shower. It’s a good rain, but it’s still pretty soggy. My 7 year old returns from a week long stay at Primary Children’s hospital from a complicated appendectomy. I was only allowed to miss two days of radiation so my husband became substitute mommy at the hospital. And since my husband wasn’t allowed any “emergency days” for this situation until after we paid for our personal days (joys of being a school teacher) we were forking out more dough. We moved into a new house and finished radiation treatments a couple of days later. Yep, in that order.
Emotionally, physically, and financially exhausting. But, honestly there was some buku blessings in all of this.
April 2015: The Drizzle Rain. This drizzle spurs a hype that it’s raining. Little splashes of hope trickle in. I am finally gaining my energy back one year after completing all of my treatments. I feel like the good ole’ me again. This rain has been the much needed rain in drought.
Ah. So refreshing.
We have all had our “rainy days” Psh! Everyone has them. And more often than not, rainstorms are silently rolling in. We either hush them or thrust them out for all to see. However loud or quiet the storm, we can learn to gain from the rain. So, here’s a few tips to feel the effect of the rain and to let it change you, like it’s meant to do.
4 Necessary Tips To Help You Gain From the Rain:
1- Resist the urge to use an umbrella. We all poof out our umbrella when rain comes. It comes as an effort to protect the things we can- for me it’s my hair. I don’t need it waving and misbehaving for others. Oh brother! No.
In trials, good or bad, we use our umbrella as a protective shield for our emotions. We don’t want our emotions waving or misbehaving for others. So, we push or pull away from others. And sometimes we do it to ourselves, denying how we really feel. Rain is meant for our gain. It perfects us in a way. We gain compassion for others because we come to understand the intensity of the emotions.
Resist the urge to pull out your umbrella; focus on feeling the emotion: anger, sadness, happiness, awkwardness, whatever. Don’t ignore it, but recognize and control it. Feel it, then move on. Really, it’s ok. Now, I don’t think you should roll in the mud sludge (mama won’t be happy about that). But, see that you do move on. No need to be a pig dweller smeller feller.
People will wrinkle their nose at that.
So, yep. You’ll probably get matted hair and smell the drenched stench of water logging but in the long run it will refresh you. It’ll color your world a little brighter. It’s what rain does. It ruins the masquerade of a parade but rewards us with perspective.
How cool is that?
2-Submerge Yourself in Stories. Talk out your trials. Share your successes. Read about others who have struggled or gained and open your eyes to how their life is overwhelming or lame. Find your connection with someone who will hear you out. There is great relief in knowing someone else out there is faking it right along with you.
Check out stories from your ancestors. Learning of their struggles somehow softens your dilemma. If you don’t have an ancestor story adopt one.
These ancestors lived and died and tried in life. How are they any different than you? (Other than you’re pulse is still working- yay!) Uncock your misjudments about ancestor stories and try it just once. I have been amused at how an unrelated ancestor story actually alleviated some inner burden. Has this ever worked for you?
Try this running back (to read more stories) guarantee.
3-Flip Out a Smile. It is the simplest thing you can do to affect your own mood. It’ll carry you. You know this saying: it’s what’s on the inside that counts. We’ve heard it a gazillion times. The inside manifests itself on our faces. I know by my husband’s baggy eyes that he is tired, the smirk on my child’s face that he doesn’t care, the squinch on my face that I’m sharing something I didn’t want to, but needed to.
But, the opposite is also true. A smile will soften the storm and affect the intensity of the hurricane brewing inside. Less damage is done when we pull out a little smile. Need I say more?
4-Pull in Your Blanket A Little Tighter. A support system (any support system) will carry you. I met a guy at the cancer center that lived in some sagebrush-for-neighbors kind of town. He had no family that knew or cared about his cancer, he had been married a few times but was lonely now. And if I remember right the dog died recently. He said that he should have died several times, but didn’t. He was a motorcycle riding man with absolutely no fans.
It broke my heart.
I liked this guy. I only imagined the stories he could tell. He wasn’t happy. He physically couldn’t eat anything so he drank ensure: every meal, every stinking day. He only wished to die. I wish now that I had done something more for him (squinch). But, I only visited with him in the waiting room that day. He seeped into an occasional prayer. But, as I sat there chatting with him on that day, I realized the value of a support system.
If someone reaches out to you. Let them. You need them… and maybe one day they will need you. Keep your support system close to you, find ways to tug them in a little closer.
Your Positive Efforts will Gain an Applause from the Rooftops.
I tell my kids that someone is always watching them. It’s human nature to take notes of people and copycat what we like and scratch and lop out what we don’t. And often the “small” things we do, are the big things.
Standing ovations come when we overcome, when we master a weakness, when we endure our mundane moments with a good attitude; when we are better than we were the day before. When we try and fail, try and fail, try and fail, and try and nail it. Applause comes because we did something hard.
I do love what the rain has done for me. Our trials will only last a moment. We can get through anything. In the end there will be a reward of perseverance, patience, understanding (and faith when we don’t understand), knowledge, and compassion. These are all tokens that spark a little hope when the storm clouds roll in. Hold on, it will only last a moment.
April showers truly do bring the most stunning May flowers.
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