It’s raining here- I can hear the noise the water’s making outside, and I refuse to sleep because when will I have the chance to hear water like this again- here in Hermosillo of all places?
As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized how much the weather affects my mood- how I, like Superman need sunlight. I work better in the heat- it makes me happy.
Sonora (the state that holds Hermosillo) is called ‘The Sun State’ here in Mexico. I remember hearing that on my way down and feeling like it was some sort of heavenly sign reassuring me that it was the right place.
People here complain about the heat and I guess it’s legitimate but for the most part I love the dry heat, and the pounding sun. It makes my muscles relax. It minimizes my headaches. On the flip side, living here has reminded me of the joys to be found in rain, and cloudy days and thunder- all or any of them in a day.
One of my favorite poems is “The Rainy Day” by Longfellow. I remember finding it during a particularly trying time in life and feeling the words slip through some of the cracks my heart had developed. I’d recite the last verse to myself while driving, while running, while cooking, while brushing my teeth- it became my personal mantra.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
That will get you through anything. Seriously.
And so, since moving here, I’ve thought a lot about rain. People here clamor for it, plead for it, and offer prayers for it to come. Sonora is sunny, but it is a desert after all- the sun will pound into your skull. The water is so scarce that there has been a state wide rationing- half of the city will have it in the morning, the other half at night.
It’s made me reconsider my view of trials, and tests and hard times- the metaphoric rain of life- because really, how much do I directly pray and ask for something difficult to be thrown my way? I know I ask for lots of other things- like growth, charity, patience, guidance; I ask for specific things I deeply desire, but never for personal rain.
I’ve heard it said a million times that rain makes the good things grow, and after wards we have rainbows, blah, blah, blah. It’s true, I completely agree. But am I really always dirt in the cosmic view of things? Why doesn’t the personal down pour of hard things bring me as much joy as the water does here when I need it just as badly?
Recently, it rained for two straight hours. In Texas this would be no cause for alarm, but here it turned into a crisis. The water kept rising, and rising and after those two hours, I walked outside to where I generally find the sidewalk to find that the water was above my knees. The water level had gone up dramatically, and the cars that kept driving by made waves that brought water into the house.
At one point I turned to see Hna. Velarde’s worried expression, telling her “But it’s rain! We need rain! Isn’t rain good?” and her response to me was “Yes but in moderation”.
Moderation! Moderation! I thought it was so silly to hear that word, because how can so little be considered so much? It was two hours of rain! We needed the water! Some days must be dark and dreary! Yet here I was, with a little bucket, taking water out of the entrance, and throwing it back to the street, moping the floor with a dedication only seen of Disney princesses. I was seeing Hna. Velarde walk through the water, to redirect cars so that the water would stop going into the houses. I saw Jorge loose his nerve in a way I hope to never witness again. I was witness to Hno. Velarde putting on his yellow parka, telling people to slow down.
I found out that afternoon that Hermosillo’s sewer system is not built to take rain like this. In my head that seemed stupid, because wouldn’t you want an excellent system for when the rain came?
It occurred to me that a lot of times we ask for all of these things that we want- things that are wonderful and necessary- but that we are not ready for. Just like people beg their deity for rain here- but can only handle little bits. How many times have I also been spared by not being granted the deep desires of my heart because they would crush me? Have I ever stopped to consider the fact that not getting what I want right away might be the biggest grace I can be granted at the time because I am not equipped for the blessings I ask for? Have I ever seen this as a true blessing instead of just another opportunity to develop patience/character/faith? Have I expressed gratitude because I do get to develop those traits while simultaneously being prepared and spared?
I’ve realized that in the story of my life, the Lords timing is everything because He knows when I will be able to bear the brunt of the blessings I ask for, when I will be able to benefit from them most, and most importantly, when they will make me the happiest. That’s why it’s so important to wait- because if you’re doing your part (carrying little buckets of water to keep your house from flooding), then he will make sure you have all the water you need to grow, and thrive, while keeping you from drowning.
I’m leaning that it’s not always about the sun still shinning ( though it is needed) or the silver lining (which is nice), but rather seeing the clouds and being prepared for the fact that sometimes good things come by not coming at all- and sometimes the only way to get our patch of personal paradise while in this mortal experience is through personal rain.