Florida is the Sunshine State. And we Floridians LOVE the sun. We love the warm temperatures ten months out of the year (sorry, you northerners but 50°F in January is considered freezing to us). We love having the beach within hours (or minutes) of our front door.
Even the rain ain’t bad here. We have what we call scattered showers. In other words, it could be raining on your front driveway where you just finished washing your car, while the sun is warming the rapidly growing bamboo in your backyard. It also means when it does rain, it doesn’t usually do it ALL day long like it does in other states.
But Floridians are spoiled. Unless you’re a homeowner with a monthly water bill, rain is a drag. Sometimes after grocery shopping, you have to wait an entire ten minutes in the store’s foyer with your cartful of groceries while the monsoon passes before you can exit. As I (a homeowner with a monthly water bill) stare out the store windows into the waterlogged parking lot along with the half-dozen other annoyed customers, I try not to think about the half-gallon of ice cream melting in my cart and instead fix my mind on the money I’m saving not having to use my sprinklers and how much my lawn loves the rain, how my grass is drinking it up like ambrosia. (If I’m feeling really pessimistic, I’ll remember that we have scattered showers in Florida and that it’s probably not even raining at my house.)
I stare at the bag of naval oranges peeking out at me from my cart and think, “Without the rain, I wouldn’t have my oranges.” There’s tomatoes in the bag too, and peppers, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, baby carrots, and lettuce (no, we don’t have a rabbit, just my husband). In fact, pretty much everything in my cart wouldn’t be there without the rain.
Okay, okay. I admit it, we need the rain or nothing grows.
And as I stand in the store’s foyer staring out at the sheets of rain, I ponder: Do I drink in the “rain” in my life as eagerly and effectively as the grass, and the oranges, and the carrots? How ridiculous would it be for the flora to actually resent the rain when the showers are essential to helping them grow?
For me, rain is financial struggle. Rain is communication problems with my husband. Rain is helping my son work through an autistic tantrum. It’s traffic. It’s the co-worker that seems to have some personal grudge against me. It’s the extra five or ten pounds that have a death grip on my hips. I HATE rain.
But my carrots don’t hate the rain, so why should I?
Why can’t I drink in the rain and see that it’s fuel for my growth? How would my faith in God’s ability to take care of me grow without financial struggle? How would my relationship with my husband grow if we didn’t fumble in learning each other’s love language? Working through my son’s tantrum helps me grow in my patience. I can use the extra time sitting in traffic and listen to another chapter in my audiobook. I can learn to effectively resolve conflict by confronting my co-worker. I can take a yoga class and feel better about myself no matter how much I weigh.
Or I can be bitter and resentful of these struggles and therefore “die on the vine.” Who likes a shriveled up tomato? Who wants to eat brown lettuce? And what homeowner proudly shows off their dead lawn?
As the rain begins to clear outside the grocery store, I stand up a little straighter. I take a deep breath, inhaling the crispness of the newly washed air seeping between the crack in the automatic doors. As the stampeding parade of waiting customers turns toward the exit, I hear mutterings of “Finally!” from the mob. I step out into the remains of the storm as the parting clouds reveal a hint of blue. I tilt back my head and catch the gleam of the sun as it throws off the clouds like a veil.
I smile. Ah, whatever. Let it rain!
FYI: The writer of the book of Hebrews pondered this concept way before me (6:7-8). Check it out.