One morning earlier this week we had a storm pass through our area. In the early hours when the sky was still black, the storm started brewing. I was awake. I heard the rumbling, grumbling hints of what was to come.
I sleep with my window open. Mostly because it is just plain hot in an upstairs room when the outside temperatures start to climb. I also love the night’s orchestra. I like to hear the high whine of the train and the jumbled chorus of insects, and the patter of the local raccoon who thinks my front roof is her personal deck.
When dawn came the storm was in full force. The open window provided the perfect acoustical frame to hear and see with some relative safety. I do love storms (although my poor Zoe-dog does not; I heard her whimpering in her crate).
I laid there and began to wonder and ponder why I love storms. I do not remember ever being afraid. (I might have a connection because of the tornadoes that tore through Kentucky in the early ‘70s. One of them took the front porch off our small trailer—while we were in it.) The movie Twister has always intrigued me.
I am fascinated by the play and power of the lightning. The rolling, swelling thunder. The hushed silence. The pounding rain. The swaying trees. The unique scents.
Needless to say, I was content that morning.
I was content until a friend emailed me. They remembered how much I liked the rain and storms. This surprised me. But their subtly veiled challenge surprised me more.
“Life is not about watching the storm go by…it’s about learning to dance in the RAIN.”
Often, for whatever reasons, we are content to watch the storm from our open windows. Sometimes we even get bold enough to venture to the front porch. We sit on the swing or in a lawn chair as if we were at a gigantic natural drive-in. But we are still observers. The lightning cracks and we jump. We feel the gravely thunder deep in our chests. And the wind carries the misty rain over and around us.
And we watch the storm go by.
My friend cut very close to the quick of who I am. This one sentence dismantled my content and exposed some of the hidden longings of my heart.
There is risk in stepping out into the storm and dancing in the rain. You get wet. You are exposed. The wind is no longer playful, but powerful. The lightning is no longer just an incredible show, but dangerous. The rain is no longer refreshing, but lashing.
We will come to a place where we can choose to observe or to participate. In observing we stand on the periphery of life. We keep our chairs pushed back and our umbrellas beside us. We cannot participate fully from the edge. We cannot completely engage the elements of a storm through an open window or from a covered porch.
I have several friends who are coaxing me to come out into the rain. Some of them smile and motion for me to join them. Others are teasing and playfully goading me to come off the porch. Others just simply play in the rain and every once in a while they look at me and wink. A few have even grabbed my hand and pulled me down the first couple of steps ignoring my arguments and hesitations.
And I am moved. I know observation is just not enough. I want to be wet. I long to let go to the utter abandon of a child. I long to be in the midst of the storm rather than on its edge.
If we want to participate, we must learn to dance in the rain.
Consider my friend's wise words.
I had my first dancing lesson this week.