This week has been full of rain, in both a figurative and literal way. When my Dad had his cancer surgery (mentioned in the post below)on July 24, my family members and I all thought that getting the cancer out was the biggest of our worries. However, Dad's road to recovery has been long and hard and has included many complications from the harmless but irritating case of the hiccups which lasted four days after his surgery, to serious life threatening complications such as kidney failure, blood clots, bleeding, and aneurysms. The last two of these occurred at the beginning of this week. The stress of the worry, of seeing my dad's apartment looking like a crime scene, trips to the hospital, sitting in the surgical waiting rooms, as well as attending my husband's grandmother's funeral, and just trying to accomplish the tasks of regular life have left me feeling physically and emotionally drained.
It has also been raining--that wet sort of rain which comes from clouds--this week as well. Ironically, this rain has been healing. When I walked out of the school building where I teach on Thursday, I was much too tired to run to my car as I would on any other rainy day. I walked slowly. And when I felt the light rain on my head, I turned my face upward and stretched out my arms to offer more of my skin up to it's healing touch. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply the smell of the wet earth.
When I got to my car, a fond recollection came to my mind. It was a long forgotten memory about my grandpa. I was about five years old, and my brother and I were visiting my grandparents when they lived in Florida. Eddie, Grandpa and I were looking out the window as the rain filled up the street. We saw a jogger.
Grandpa grumbled(his speech always sounded like a grumble)"Joggin' in the rain, joggin' in the rain, see that crazy man, joggin' in the rain?" Eddie and I nodded. Then grandpa gave us a strange look. "Do you want to go joggin' in the rain?" he asked us. We said we did, and grandma dressed us in our bathing suits and sneakers and grandpa put a sleevess undershirt and a pair of shorts (I'm sure it was the only time I had ever seen him wear shorts!) and we went joggin' in the rain! I'm sure I had not thought of that since the day it happened 35 years ago, but the memory was healing too since mostly I remember my father's father as mean and angry.
I went to the hospital again to see my dad that evening, and when I returned home it was still raining, so I asked my husband to join me for a walk in the rain. He was surprised, but said afterward that it was quite pleasant.
Then Friday night, although I have felt exhausted all week, I was having trouble sleeping. It was still raining and I convinced my husband that we should spread sleeping bags out on the floor of our screen porch and "camp out" there for the night. The rhythm of the rain on the roof, the patter of it on the tree leaves and the smell of it in the air was like calming music, and medicine for my soul. And, while a few hours later we opted for our soft bed in leu of the porch's concrete floor, I was relaxed enough to sleep restfully until morning after that.
Rain can mean storms, floods and disasters, but it is also healing, renewing, cleansing, life-giving--thank God for the rain.