We Just Need To Ignore The Rain

fog

We moved into our dream home, a small log cabin nestled in the woods on the side of a Georgia ridge in December of 2001, my husband and I. This period was one of the darkest days of our lives, and we were at a low point that still hurts to think about. It was a very tough and challenging time for me professionally, and our family was getting hit with multiple major crises.

I’ve never been a take a walk in the rain kind of gal, but for some reason, I always wanted to be. I guess because we all know about those rose colored glasses I can’t seem to break, even after almost 60 years on this earth. I am a romantic, among many other things.

Shortly after moving in to the cabin, my feelings about the rain started to change. I had always hated rainy days, but here in the woods on the steep side of the ridge, the rain sounds beautiful falling through the leaves, and it almost always brings fog that surrounds the cabin. The backside of the cabin faces the down slope and you can sit on the porch and be in the middle of the soft grey blue cloud. It’s one of the most peaceful experiences I have ever had.

The forest is so dense you can’t see the road, let alone a sunset, during the summer, unless you stand at the top of the driveway for just a glimpse. My husband and I used to bundle up that December and sit out on the porch to watch the spectacular sunsets, almost every night. We would be out at the store, and one of us would look at the time and we would rush home. If guests were over, we insisted they put their coats on to look at “our” sunset.

In a word, we took time to experience nature, rather than just live in it. To be fair, that’s mostly a description of me. My husband works outside and will never work in a building. He takes moments every day to enjoy sunrises and sunsets and eagles flying over the river. But even he probably didn’t much enjoy the fog.

Yesterday I had three of my grandchildren here. Conner, the two year old future mountain climber and already professional acrobat, had spent the night. His older brother and sister were very upset to be left at home, even though it wasn’t their turn. Their grandfather promised them a big surprise was waiting for them here.

Rain-4When they arrived yesterday, in the middle of a terrible rainstorm, the first thing Sadie (5 going on 30) asked was where her surprise was. I tried to get her to play a guessing game, but she was relentless. She always is. So I took her to the door and showed her the new bigger swimming pool I had found for them on sale.

She was excited and crestfallen at the same time, seeing the new pool through the rain falling. She struggled for a few minutes, anxiously watching the pool through the downpour, her usually lively mood a little serious.

Not five minutes later, she came to me with the answer, as the child always, always does. Our Sadie is a top rate problem solver, and never stays down. She said “Pipi, we just have to ignore the rain.”

Then she made her pitch. Why should a little rain stop their fun in the water? What difference would it make? No reason at all to allow the weather to stop the fun and trap us all inside and ruin our day.

Sadie and Mason April14 2014I smiled, because I had known that was what she would come back with. Pipi has let her play in the rain since she was barely old enough to stand and stick her chubby little foot out of the porch and feel the drops the first time.

But her earnest expression and her lively body language, arms out, palms up, literally willing me to believe, along with that one eloquent sentence, made me think about it all day.

We just have to ignore the rain.

I am not very good at ignoring the storms. Not the weather ones. Not the life ones. I am not very good at always looking for joy, even on the darkest days. I am not very good at thanking God for life’s storms. In the course of our lives here at the cabin, I lost my initial joy at the rain and fog and lost myself in fear of falling trees and lightning strikes.

Jesus emphasized to us, in word and deeds, to listen to the children, to emulate them. Mountains of books and commentaries have been written analyzing just exactly what he meant. I won’t try here, but I do think that keeping ourselves open to joy in the middle of the rain is probably one of the things he had in mind.

To reject joy is to reject the Father, from whom all joy comes. Happiness is fleeting and nice, but not joy. Joy is the supernova of human emotion, the bright and blinding flash that we can open ourselves to, but not really ever initiate. It is to be experienced, not created.

And if you can’t be open to joy in the rain and storms, you are probably going to miss most of the opportunities to experience it.

Oh yeah, and joy should be shared.

Thank you Sadie, for sharing the joy, and reminding me to work on my attitude about storms.

One last afterthought here. Those dark times we went through when we first moved here were made much more bearable by the joy we allowed ourselves to find here. And those dark times gave me some very important personal strengths and our family eventually came out a lot tougher.

And the sun shined brighter than ever one day.

If you are interested in some reading that might help you remember to thank God in the middle of life’s storms, I recommend Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence by Jean Baptist Saint-Jure.

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274 Responses to We Just Need To Ignore The Rain

  1. carterzest says:

    Thanks Menagerie, I needed this. We just purchased a bundle of sage to burn to cleanse our dwelling and hopefully turn our luck around.
    Life is good if you look in the correct places.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Texanfree says:

    My husband and I are hikers. It is hard to describe the peace I find in the woods. It’s as if the world recedes and peace gently flows in and around me. It is a quiet joy.

    Liked by 6 people

    • JEM says:

      Yes, there is peace in the woods. The trees have no expectations toward humans. Only complete acceptance. They are the same today as they were last time we saw them. They will be next week or next year. It’s almost as if the same trees we always notice on the trail say to us – hello, nice to see you again. No more, no less.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LafnH2O says:

        The world of nature moves in rhythms, patterns and cycles, the passing of the seasons, the movement of the stars, the ebb and flow if the tides. The seasons do not push one another, neither do clouds race the wind across the sky. All things happen in their own time, rising and falling and rising like ocean waves, in the circles of time. The natural world dances to the music of change. Like seeds and cycles, so go our lives. You have to end one cycle in order to begin another. Nature teaches everything works together at the right time, without resistance.

        Dan Millman
        The Law of Cycles –
        Dancing to Nature’s Song

        Like

  3. Menagerie:
    Thank you for reminding me of God’s grandeur. I too am a Catholic living in the No. GA mountains. Left DC 12 years ago and haven’t looked back. Have coffee on the porch while watching the deer and turkeys in the field. This is truly God’s country.

    BTW, do you happen to go to church in Blairsville?

    Liked by 8 people

    • Menagerie says:

      I am further north than Blairsville. I go to mass at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Chattanooga. If you are ever near it’s one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen, and the liturgy is just as beautiful.

      Liked by 7 people

      • BebeTarget says:

        Menagerie . . . . we just came home from a funeral mass for our dearest friend, a 98 year old retired colonel . . . a WWll hero of the invasions of North Africa, Sicily and Normandy, To say good-bye was beyond heart-breaking. With us were four of our grandchildren (ages 7 to 10) who have never before attended a funeral. They were there because they asked us if they could say good-bye to their dear friend who was always so kind to them. Not a peep or a squirm for nearly two hours as tears rolled down their little cheeks . . . . Of course it was foggy and rainy (the kind of days I always love on Cape Cod), but not today.
        When I read your post your message was loud and clear . .it was as if the Colonel were speaking to us. That was the way he always looked at life, and with him gone, it seemed as if his message was, as well. Thank you for being God’s messenger on this particular day.

        Liked by 7 people

    • drdeb says:

      Hi Yankee Doodle,
      I too live in retirement in Blairsville. I absolutely adore my new home (I have owned it for 20 years but until I retired it was a weekend escape to Nottely Lake and the beautiful mountains) I moved here full-time from Atlanta, 6 years ago. I would love to connect with a fellow treeper! Are you getting ready for the eclipse? I am going to have a household full of Atlanta area friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Alison says:

    Children can distill complexity to kernels of wisdom. Your writing is lovely, Menagerie, and brings its own serenity to each of us.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. John Denney says:

    I’d love to be there, having spent many years in the woods, but now living in a metropolis.
    Your description of the rain makes me think of this old favorite:

    Like

  6. US says:

    It is amazing that Menagerie can help run the amazing Conservative Treehouse from a cabin among the trees of a Georgia mountain. The internet has empowered US to an amazing extent. I think that the amazing insights of Sundance are one of the supporting structures of President Donald J. Trump. I would venture that CTH is as influential as the WSJ or LAT. The Truth shall make you free. Thank you both, Menagerie and mysterious Sundance. Donation will follow.

    Liked by 8 people

    • Menagerie says:

      What is amazing is that I ever learned the tiny amount I understand about computers enough to ever learn to post. I am computer challenged. Stella and Puddy are the pros, and without their tutelage I would never be able to type my name.

      Liked by 7 people

  7. yakmaster2 says:

    Lovely and thought provoking prose, Menagerie. I’ve always been the “silver lining” type, but I too can and have gotten bogged down in “woe is me” at various times in my life. One thing I know from those times is that anxiety and worry without positive action will not change
    anything, so if nothing can be done at a particular point in time, let go and let God.
    The weight of anxiety and depression shed lets light into your mind.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Menagerie says:

      Wise words. I’m getting better at conquering worry, but I still have a very long way to go. I’m a control freak. God is trying to break me of that habit, for what kind of a Christian am I if I can’t really bow to His judgement?

      Liked by 5 people

      • deqwik2 says:

        The best piece of advice I was ever given was “And this too shall pass”.
        At first it seemed like it was too simple a statement but as time passed & it sunk
        down into my soul, it has been my best survival tool for hard times. Now when I get worried, I am reminded that it will be ok & won’t last forever because “this too shall pass”

        Thank you for writing this. I spent a lot of my life camping & being outdoors. I have many good memories from those times. It is raining at this very moment & while I read this, it took me back in time & I remember the smell of the rain from the deep woods again. Good relaxing times. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • yakmaster2 says:

        Bless your humility❤

        Liked by 2 people

  8. I always enjoy your writings, Menagerie. You bring a touch of home to CTH.

    Liked by 7 people

  9. Bakokitty says:

    Menagerie,
    Thank you for your wonderful reminder that we need to ” just have to ignore the rain” .
    Rain come comes in many forms,and as adults we do have that tendency to forget our child inside who takes joy in mud muddles, raindrops on our tongue, the excitement and awe of lightning and thunder. Swiming in the rain.
    We get hung up on lifes roadblocks, trials, and worries. We forget the natural inclination to marvel at the world God created or us, and Jesus did tell us to be as children in our spirit.
    God bless your little Sadie, she wise beyond her years. It will be your joy to watch her grow and develop into the wise woman God created.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. VickyD says:

    Out of the mouths of babes — miniature Dalai Lamas. Beautiful post, Menagerie … you and your family are truly blessed.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Carolina Kat says:

    Beautiful.

    Loved the whole thing. Even sat with you for a spell on your porch (had some coffee in my cup) to watch your sunset. Thank you for the lovely moments!

    One of my favorite things is to ride through the woods in the rain. The horse’s footfalls go silent, and the leafy towers overhead make a sheltering sky. The fragrance of damp horse and leather mingle with the wet foliage, and every sense is heightened. Long ago my mare gave up her questioning glances when I went to the tack room for a saddle on a cloudy morning.

    “Consider it all joy” – it says in the book of James. A hard verse to live by. But surely the best way to go.

    Liked by 5 people

  12. All American Snowflake says:

    When I get pessimistic and can’t find a single positive word to say I recall: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8

    Liked by 7 people

  13. Carrie says:

    I needed to read this article. Thank you, Menagerie, for posting.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Ono says:

    Let it Rain!!!

    Like

  15. Kathy says:

    “Nature is indeed the *other* book through which God speaks.” I cannot recall when I first heard this — or even if this is the exact quote — but the gist of it has proven to be a great “navigator”.

    Dark clouds on the horizon almost never cause concern but, instead, remind me of so many Bible stories where God appears in a cloud. I also welcome raindrops as symbolic “pieces” of God’s Living Water — configured as oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams; mist and fog kissing my face; morning dew and puddles at my feet. I picture raindrops in their endless cycle from the dawn of time — touching for a little while, rising up to the clouds, and returning again to cleanse and refresh.

    Your story was beautiful and touching, Menagerie … Thank you!

    P.S.: We have our own “Sadie” … another relentless teacher of joy.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. NJF says:

    Simply amazing post Menagerie.

    Your words always help steer me back to what’s important in this life. I have a tendency to forget, and in today’s climate it is easy to get caught up in what’s wrong with the world and our lives, instead of celebrating all the beauty that does surround us.

    And I particularly enjoyed this story bc one of my favorite things as a kid was literally swimming in the rain.

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Donna in Oregon says:

    I never liked poetry growing up. Never understood the fascination in school, we had to analyze everything for hidden meaning. “What is the writer really saying?”….. To my mind, why didn’t the writer just say it straight so we could move on?

    Now I’m older, (hopefully wiser….maybe) and have a favorite poet. As soon as I read Menagerie’s posting I thought of this poem. So I hope you enjoy it.

    When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
    Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
    Then all the unattended stress falls in
    On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

    The light in the mind becomes dim.
    Things you could take in your stride before
    Now become laborsome events of will.

    Weariness invades your spirit.
    Gravity begins falling inside you,
    Dragging down every bone.

    The tide you never valued has gone out.
    And you are marooned on unsure ground.
    Something within you has closed down;
    And you cannot push yourself back to life.

    You have been forced to enter empty time.
    The desire that drove you has relinquished.
    There is nothing else to do now but rest
    And patiently learn to receive the self
    You have forsaken for the race of days.

    At first your thinking will darken
    And sadness take over like listless weather.
    The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

    You have traveled too fast over false ground;
    Now your soul has come to take you back.

    Take refuge in your senses, open up
    To all the small miracles you rushed through.

    Become inclined to watch the way of rain
    When it falls slow and free.

    Imitate the habit of twilight,
    Taking time to open the well of color
    That fostered the brightness of day.

    Draw alongside the silence of stone
    Until its calmness can claim you.
    Be excessively gentle with yourself.

    Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
    Learn to linger around someone of ease
    Who feels they have all the time in the world.

    Gradually, you will return to yourself,
    Having learned a new respect for your heart
    And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

    –John O’Donohue, from “Blessings”

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Jacqueline Taylor Robson says:

    Menagerie, living here on the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest (Habersham County), I know how you feel. I love living here, and have always been a rainy day kinda’ girl!

    Liked by 3 people

  19. thluckyone says:

    Menagerie, THANK YOU for sharing with us this life-treasure. Thank you for lifting us into this place of dreams, of poetry, of Psalms, of Hymns, of dreams, of praise, of prayer and of joyful hope. You gathered us together to share with us and – with your help – we have wept together and we have laughed together. Thank you for taking us with you. Please let us soon go with you again.

    And again you have reminded us there is no other meeting place like The Last Refuge. Menagerie, you bless us all.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. MaryfromMarin says:

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  21. GracieD says:

    Well done Menagerie! I love the rain. It has a Spiritual connotation for me. When life gets me down, I listen to this song:

    Liked by 1 person

  22. dogsmaw says:

    Just got a new pic of Emersyn playing in the rain today(i won’t show this one cause I don’t do facials of family) so Ill just put one up where she is cleaning the floor

    Liked by 2 people

  23. drdeb says:

    Menagerie,
    Your story brought tears to my eyes. You are a superior writer. Thanks so much for enriching my evening. I too live in God’s Land in the North GA mountains. I feel so much closer to God here than I did when I lived in Atlanta!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. fuzzi says:

    We moved to a house surrounded by woods when I was 14, and in my loneliness, I found peace by walking with my dog in the woods. Around the same time I hung a poster on my bedroom wall, with a quotation that fit my thoughts: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” (Thoreau)

    Liked by 4 people

  25. bkrg2 says:

    Thank you Menagerie, your posts always bring a warm and cozy break from the political battle beyond the Treehouse.
    Your home sounds beautiful and your grandkids pictures are adorable. Please keep it coming!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Conservative_302 says:

    I downloaded the book suggested. I read a few pages. Thank you for suggesting it. It will help me be a better person to myself and others. My husband lost his oldest son. His other son is involved in drugs and on the streets. These are hard things for a father to live with. My friend at worker found out this week he’s been let go after 23 years at our company. Page 15 in the downloaded book says it all for dealing with our troubles in this life for me. A person must endure and keep faith. This is despite all that we go through, a beautiful world that God created.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Menagerie says:

      The book was recommended to me by our priest. I hope it helps you and your family. Fair warning though, although a source of encouragement, it is tough stuff. No happy platitudes. Tough advice. I’m going to read it again.

      Like

  27. jcbinjcmo says:

    I am catching up here as I made a pilgrimage of sorts to the western part of my home state this weekend. You see, my brother passed away unexpectedly almost 3 months ago and I am searching for a way to ease the pain of his loss in my own heart.

    Menagerie, your essay and the sharing of so many Treepers hearts have given me hope. I know that I will find peace through my love of the Lord and my faith of that which I cannot see.

    There have been just as many blessings in the death of my dear brother as there was in his life. And he was a true blessing to all who knew him. I need to embrace the totality of what his life and death means to me and my whole family. I need to leave the bitterness that I have at circumstances I cannot control and just appreciate the miracle that was him.

    I am a water baby. I love water in all shape and forms! There is nothing that I find more grounding and cleansing as sitting on a river bank as a river rushes by or on a beach where the surf crashes. A beach on a stormy night is the very best! Your beautiful Sadie has it absolutely right! While it is raining in my life right now, I need to put my foot out there and remember the beautiful blessing that life must be lived with great joy as it is a miracle that has been given to us! It is raining…must be time to go swimming!

    God bless you. Thank you for helping me today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Menagerie says:

      I am moved by your post, and grateful that you found something to help you in the post and the comments.

      We in the Catholic faith believe in the value of offering up our sufferings and pain to the Lord, a powerful form of prayer. This practice has brought me hope in troubled times.

      I am sorry for your loss, and your pain.

      Like

  28. wodiej says:

    Love it, thank you for sharing something hopeful in these times that try the soul. I’ve always loved the rain and will go out and play in it without a care. It’s very freeing.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Texmom says:

    Struggling with bad anxiety right now, due to allergies we think, so hard to control. Still, your piece is helpful and encouraging as we go through any kind of tough times. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

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