Today, I am thankful for the rain.
I know all sorts of people that love the rain. I also know all sorts of people who despise it. I think that I’ve always fallen somewhere among the latter crowd. I’m fairly uncomfortable with my body image as it is, and I think there are few things more embarrassing than having the rain dampening my clothes and highlighting my figure. I wear clothes in the vain hopes of hiding my figure, rather than embracing it. But that’s another conversation.
What I am trying to say is that it was raining today. Droplets fell from the clouds in cycles. There were moments of heavy rainfall, light sprinkling, and brief respites. The overall mood of the day was a bit dour, or at least, perhaps not as cheery and bubbly as usual. Which, for the uninitiated who don’t attend Christian college, means that the Apocalypse is looming over the horizon.
As I shuffled through buildings and darted across walkways, I noticed two kinds of people passing me by in the rain: people with raincoats and people without raincoats.
The people without raincoats gave me the impression that they were rehearsing for some sort of Charlie Chaplin routine, which is highly unlikely, as I’m sure there are countless students who haven’t the faintest clue about who Charlie is. These people were determined to repel the rain by any means possible. Their coat-lessness was no matter; they hunched over, and marched from point to point with a steely scowl on their faces. Despite their best efforts, the rain decided to ignore their precaution and soak them anyhow. Rain dripped down their faces, past their noses, landing on their squishy tennis shoes.
Chuckling aloud, I took the time to notice the people with raincoats. They walked more slowly, taking a pause in-between each step. As the rain beaded off of their expensive nylon jackets, I couldn’t help but feel that those with raincoats had it a little bit too easy, even if any of us were only walking a few hundred yards to each of our respective destinations. Then I noticed that those with raincoats who had been out for a while were also wet. Their hair twirled and lay flat against their faces, and the shoes on their feet were also squishy.
Before too long, I was thinking about my hippie new-agey friend from high school, who keeps telling me that “God is in the rain”. I had no idea what she was talking about then, and I’m not even sure that I understand what she is talking about now. But, something in that phrase struck me as the rain fell on everyone in passing.
I thought about how, either with or without raincoats, no one escapes the rain. No matter our “preparedness”, none escape it. It reminded me a little bit about God, and how none of us ever really escape God in this life. Perhaps each of us have different understandings of “God”, and what that means, and who He is. I think that God reveals a little bit of himself to each and every one of us at some point in our lives. Sometimes we mistake God for something else, and we label Him as things that He definitely isn’t.
I love how when we do encounter God, we often attribute that experience is something that is wholly other, or foreign. And it frightens us. It makes us uncomfortable. So we put on our raincoats. Or we wear a steely scowl and run away as quickly as our legs will take us. But, in the end, none of it really repels the rain, or God, completely.
Then, as I was leaving my last class, going home for the day, I saw this student off in the distance. I don’t really know her name, but I’m guessing that this person is a girl from the long hair. But she was embracing the rain. She was dancing in it, staring up at the sky, and gracefully walking to wherever she was going. If this sounds a little silly and laughable, it’s because it is.
Yet all too often we overlook the wisdom in simple things because we are laughing at what we don’t understand. We shouldn’t be laughing at, but rather be laughing with those things.
Part of me was wondering how on Earth someone could love being drenched in the rain. And then, part of me was wondering how someone could love being drenched by God. It is inspiring, uncomfortable, and encouraging.
It is for these reasons that as someone who hates the rain, I am, at least for this day, thankful for it. Thankful for God who is in the rain, who created the rain, and who drenches us despite our best efforts. What are you thankful for today?