Monday, November 22, 2010


I woke up in heaven. The clock read 7:21 instead of 6:04 (we are on Thanksgiving break!). No alarm went off. The kids had slept in and the girls had just come to snuggle in my bed. They were whispering “I love you’s” to each other. And to top it off - rain was tapping on my window. Followed by a flash of lightening and a roll of thunder. Happiness, peace, love. Can’t get better than this. (okay, it could have - Jer could have had the day off too.)
I don’t remember the first time I realized that I loved rain storms this much. I think I was scared of them as a small child. Check with my Mom on that one. What I do know is that I became intensely aware of their power when we lived in PNG in the early 90s. I was eleven or twelve and we had come to the realization that the country we had been sent to as missionaries had changed significantly in the past eight years into a country wrought with civil unrest, drunkenness, violence - particularly toward women. I heard stories of it every day at school. Thankfully PNG is a rainforest nation so I could count on the tropical downpours to lull me to sleep. I felt safer, as though God himself was wrapping me in His almighty hands to bring me safe through the night. We had corrugated tin roofs which made the pitter patter of raindrops more like a crashing drumming sound. It was delightful. Knowing that there was something bigger than me, and He was taking care of things so I could sleep.

When it rained during the day, we would hug our books to our chests and run between classroom buildings, exhilarated by the feel of raindrops splashing on our faces and not even thinking of wanting to keep the rain off of us. It was a good 90 degrees every day so the daytime rains were always welcome. Even when it meant soaking wet shoes that squished with each step for the rest of the day. I loved seeing the white spider flowers after the rain, the delicate drip of water on the tips of their petals. Some days we would huddle closer to the center of the common area while we ate lunch because the water was splashing heavily around the sides. (our lunch area was the concrete slab under a raised building, no walls needed)

Later, in high school (a boarding school in Australia) we did not get as much rain, but of all of Australia, Brisbane is one of the rainier places. We again had the metal roofs, so if I had a room on the second floor I could hear the sound I loved at night (that and the occasional possum falling out of the tree and screeching!). When it rained on the weekends it was like God had pressed ‘pause’ and people would stay indoors and just hang out playing games and watching movies and maybe (maybe) doing homework together as the sisters we had become. We would run out the back to the tuck shop in the next dorm to buy a handful of candy to share. Maybe a microwaved pizza for lunch. Or a bowl of ramen noodles, made with hot water from the bathroom. Rainy days were together times. Of course if it rained on a school day, we were in trouble in our white uniform dresses!

In college, at St. Olaf in Northfield MN, I recall a heavy rainfall early in my freshman year. We put on our oldest clothes and ran to the soccer field that had rain gushing down the corners, forming giant waterslides/mudslides which we took to on our backsides. Good thing we were not returning to our mothers’ bathrooms to wash off! People came together in the spirit of fun. Unbounded joy. No holding back, did not matter if you knew anyone or what you looked like, we were just there to have fun. (in the winter we would take cafeteria trays to sled down the same hills)

My favorite places are those that I associate with rain - New Zealand, The Northwestern US, the East Coast to name a few. Some days I’d love nothing more than to be in one of these places with the family, sitting at a coffee shop outside where the rain splashes on a metal roof above us and we can soak up that much needed moisture while sipping our tea or hot chocolate and talking about what to do next.

Now as a grown-up (am I?), I still love storms. I love the light mist that we had yesterday as we walked to the library, gently tickling my face and soothing dry skin. Such a refreshing feeling! I love the heavy rains that keep us inside as a family playing games or snuggling together to watch a movie. Baking. That big pause button gets hit and we can do things we might otherwise have justified not doing because we were too busy. We don’t get enough storms here. Or have not lately at least. Even as I finish writing this, the clouds are clearing and I can see blue sky.

I was not ready for the blue sky yet this morning. We are still in our jammies, needing breakfast and needing to clean. While the rain lasted we could justify just laying here and watching shows together but alas now we must get up and get going.

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