Last week, we had a sudden thunderstorm that left 2 feet of standing water in a shopping area where I was parked. My sons and I had gone to a bookstore and then walked over to the Whole Foods to grab a bite to eat. When the rain stopped, we walked to the car to discover it partially underwater. The carpeting and floor mats were soaked.
When it rains, it pours. Photo by macinate
My teenage sons thought it was cool to take off their shoes and wade to get to the car. They seemed to think that when the inch of water on the back floor drained as we drove home, our worries would be over. I knew better.
Three days later, I ended up with a ruined vacuum cleaner (from trying to use a dry vacuum cleaner for a moist carpet), and hundreds of dollars in car repairs--to pull out the carpet, dry out the car, put it back together again, and to replace a failed starter. This happened just two weeks after spending over a thousand dollars on other car repairs (including a new radiator, power window control, and rear view mirror.)
When it rains, it pours.
Among the others things that have broken down in recent months: hot water heater, garage door opener, dishwasher door, printer.
I have cried more in the past month than I have in a whole year. If I wasn't crying so much, it would be funny.
When it rains, it pours.
Am I being tested? And if so, for what purpose? Am I to learn the truth of the phrase, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger"? My mother once told me that it's easy to be up when things are going well. True character comes out when things are not going so well.
As a coach, I know that we're always in a perspective about something. I can choose to cry, laugh, or feel grateful, all around the same set of circumstances.
First, the crying. That's pretty obvious.
Next, the laughing. My younger son stated it this way after we got into our flooded car: "That was a memorable way to spend the afternoon!" What I can only see in hindsight, my kids could see in the moment.
The things that have remained intact are the things that money can't buy. My husband's irreverent sense of humor, lifting me from a moment of discouragement. A strong, loving marriage. Kids who are excellent students, respectful and appreciative. Good health. Close, supportive relationships with extended family. Creative, hard-working collaborators and a giving network of friends and mentors. Great clients. The freedom to set my own schedule. The privilege of being a business owner, in an age when technology is cheap and in a country where individuals can still be rewarded on their merit. Deep down, I know I'm lucky. Photo by kateausburn.
Maybe all of this is about re-focusing on what's important. Maybe what I needed was a torrential downpour to soak me to the skin and make me keenly aware of what it means to be alive, next to a roaring fire, surrounded by family and friends. Dry clothes are not far away.
Today, after violent thunderstorms the past few days, I am sitting on my back patio, under brilliant blue skies and comfortable temperatures, with the sound of birds chirping and leaves rustling. The flora is just as alive as the fauna. Cream colored roses and pale purple lavender throw off a calming fragrance. A friend likes to say, "All's well in the world." That's what it feels like right now. Photo by Thowra_uk