I think spring is finally here. Beautiful sunshine reflects hope off the little leaves on the tree outside my office window, its branches have been bare for a long time. For goodness sakes, it’s April and we had snow flurries last week.
Some say it’s just Cincinnati weather, but it happened in lots of places this year. Its been pretty crazy. One expects rainy days in April, but snow flurries seem to be a bit out of the ordinary.
I loved the snow when I was a kid and playing in the snow was such fun when my girls were young. Oh, the joy on their faces as we built snowmen. Trying to ambush their daddy with snowballs always produced lots of happy giggles.
More recent years of condo living allowed me to watch the snowflakes create a perfect white blanket of snow; without having to worry about clearing the sidewalk or the driveway.
My daughters and I even made the rain fun. If there was no lightning, we would run through the puddles laughing and being silly. Hey, it was only water and worth every minute of cleanup time.
Once while at Opryland waiting to watch a Charlie Daniels Band concert the skies opened up. Huge raindrops started to fall and people started running for cover. Knowing it would be impossible for the thousands of visitors to find shelter at an amusement park, we just stayed where we were.
The ultimate professional, Charlie Daniels came on stage protected from the rain by his big white cowboy hat and a little stage roof overhang. He sang and played his fiddle for the soaked group. We stood dripping wet, singing, clapping and having a great time. The downpour had evened the playing field. By the time he closed with his signature The Devil Went Down To Georgia, no one seemed to care it was raining. Tom and I laughed to see our teenage daughters (who weren’t really into country music back then) standing on the tree trunk seating singing at the top of their lungs.
Later that summer, we taped a Charlie Daniels special on TV (part of which had been filmed on that rainy day at Opryland). Although we had to run the tape back about six or eight times, we actually found our drenched little family in the audience. For one brief moment there we were on TV. No worries, just sopping wet with the biggest smiles sharing a fun, carefree moment in our life.
Age has taken those lighthearted weather moments to a different place. No longer able to run through the raindrops or watch my boots leave footprints that spoil the white blanket of snow on the ground. I have learned that just like the weather, our lives can’t be perfect all of the time.
Most of the time, I’m pretty positive. Always been a glass-half-full type of person. But, losing so many loved ones and old friends in the last few years makes me so sad. I will never get used to it.
I knew this time was coming from a memory of something my daddy told me years ago. I had gone to the country to spend the weekend with him. Getting up at 5:30 a.m. daddy was still on farmer time. In his seventies, his routine was to take a short walk, breathe in the morning air, and fiddle around in his garage. By the time he came back in, I was in his kitchen fixing breakfast.
At 7:00 a.m. he turned on the radio, saying he had to know how to plan his day. Not sure what he meant until I heard a voice reading obituaries. Daddy stood at the counter writing down names, times, and funeral homes that gave him a blueprint for his day.
Today, the newspaper, emails, phone calls, and Facebook notify me how to plan around visitations, funerals, and celebrations of life. There are some weeks it seems to consume my calendar and overwhelm my mind.
Occasionally, getting still, letting my mind run free, doing nothing helps me put things into perspective. So there I sat in my office chair, lost in my thoughts.
Tom: “Hey, are you okay? What are ya doing? You look like you’re just staring into space.”
Me: “That’s exactly what I’m doing. Staring into space, just thinking.”
Tom: “What are you thinking about?”
Me: “Nothing in particular. Don’t you ever just let your mind roam free? See where it takes you.”
Tom: “Not really. You know, I love you, but you are a little strange sometimes.”
Me: “Thanks, hon. I’m glad you think I’m strange. But seriously, sometimes the silence helps me find answers.”
On a serious note, when did life become consumed with loss? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we ran into people at football games, graduations, weddings, baby showers, the grocery store? Now we meet at services to celebrate the lives of old friends? Hugging and saying, “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”
It occurs to me life is a lot like the weather, changing with no apparent rhyme or reason. Life twists and turns as we are faced with on-going issues, problems, and uncertainties.
Life is such a myriad of so many different emotions, laughter, tears, joy, and sorrow. It all merges together to create good days and bad. Though, without the rough times, the sad times, we couldn’t really appreciate the un-measurable joy that life brings.
Would we really want our world to be perfect? Sounds good, but sometimes we have to stand in the unexpected pouring rain to find the joyfulness, to experience the small things that turn out to be significant moments in our lives.
Ending on a Positive Note: Losing loved ones is so rough, but the love we feel for them never goes away. We will always cherish the wonderful moments of the life we shared. Celebrate the little things, every ordinary day, everything life has to offer because that is where we find the joy.