Moving Forward

Moving Forward

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reader's Choice 20th Anniversary Edition

Moving Forward

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.

~James Oppenheim

The story that changed my life is called “Dancing in the Rain” by Jeannie Lancaster and appeared in the book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive. I read the entire book cover to cover. There were many stories that resonated with me but that story in particular made me smile and I keep going back to it.

The key phrase that captured me was “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” The story talked about how the author discovered a plaque with those words and how she bought it to constantly remind herself to implement that attitude into her daily life. The story also mentions how too often people put conditions on their own happiness. That’s my problem. I tend to be a “glass is half empty” kind of person. Too often when things aren’t going the way I plan, I basically take a back seat in my life and wait for everything to magically start getting better and work itself out on its own. Of course I am always disappointed when nothing happens or more often than not, things get worse.

I read the story a couple of weeks ago. It has stuck with me and I say the quote to myself several times throughout the day: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Just repeating that sentence over and over again makes me feel more positive and changes how I feel and react to situations that I am not normally happy with.

A couple of years ago my cousin Jenny and I had some sort of falling out. I am not even sure what it was about at this point. All I know was that Jenny had been my best friend, my maid of honor at my wedding and the godmother of my first-born child. I had thought of her every now and then. After our spat, I had been invited to her wedding but didn’t go out of spite. I kept waiting for her to apologize or something. After reading the story I felt like a spoiled brat. How much time do we really have to cultivate relationships and do all the things we want to do? The fact is we really don’t know.

I realized that I missed her friendship; this whole situation was completely silly. I was ashamed of myself for not going to her wedding. “Enough,” I told myself. “This foolishness has to stop here and now. I am tired of missing out on my own life.”

I sat down and wrote a note to Jenny. I told her that I wanted to start over, call a truce and I apologized for not being at her wedding. I mailed the letter and I waited. Would she return the letter unopened? Would she contact me? What if she didn’t contact me?

A week later the phone rang. I asked my daughter to answer it because I was dealing with a flood in the basement. A sock had gotten stuck in the washing drain and I was busy reminding myself to dance in the rain! Jenny was calling to thank me for my letter. She was happy to hear from me and we talked on the phone for over an hour, until the battery died in my phone. She is planning on visiting us in the next couple of weeks. I will finally get the pleasure of meeting her husband, son and daughter for the very first time. I have learned to move forward now and to actively pursue my happiness. After all, “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning how to dance in the rain.”

~Catina Noble

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