Dancing in the Rain

Dancing in the Rain

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

Dancing in the Rain

Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.

~Author Unknown

My husband and I had just finished having dinner at a local restaurant and were enjoying strolling through the stores in an adjacent shopping center. We went into a shop that sold handcrafted items in hopes of finding a few last-minute Christmas gifts. The scent of handmade soaps and potpourri teased our noses as we walked through the door.

There was a lot to see. Every shelf and wall was loaded with different crafters’ handiwork. As I walked through the store, I noticed a wooden plaque hanging unceremoniously on a wall. I turned to take a second look and remember shaking my head “yes” at the message printed on the plaque. Moving on, I enjoyed looking at other items in the store, but found myself being drawn back to the plaque.

Standing in front of the plaque, I felt a little like a child who, when digging through the sandbox, finds some unexpected treasure — a shiny quarter or a lost toy. Here among the other handmade items, I found a very simple, yet profound treasure hidden in a message. A message I needed.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass,” the plaque proclaimed. “It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

As I pulled my husband over and directed his attention to the plaque, I could see that he too appreciated the simple lesson the plaque shared. How often in our daily lives had we put conditions on our happiness? When we get the house paid off, then we can be happy. When things settle down with the kids, then we’ll be able to do more together. There is so little joy for the here and now in the uncertainties of the whens and thens.

Looking at the plaque, I found myself thinking back to a hot and muggy day the summer before, when I unknowingly lived the plaque’s message. Dark clouds had rolled in along the foothills of the Rockies, heavy with their burden of moisture. Rain began falling lightly by mid-afternoon, building to a downpour that filled the gutters with rushing water and then moved on as quickly as it had come.

Light rain continued to fall as I walked out to get my mail. Water was still running high through the gutters. I don’t know what came over me, but I suddenly felt compelled to do something a little crazy for my fifty-plus years.

I slipped off my shoes and stockings and began walking barefoot through the water. It was deliciously warm, heated by the pavement that had been baked by the summer heat.

I’m sure my neighbors thought that I had lost my last vestige of sanity, but I didn’t care. For in that moment, I was alive. I wasn’t worried about bills, the future or any other day-to-day cares. I was experiencing a gift — a pure and simple moment of joy!

The plaque now hangs in my living room, a Christmas gift from my husband. I walk past it multiple times each day and frequently pause to ask myself, “So, am I dancing in the rain?”

I think I am. I know I try to. I’m definitely more committed to taking time to pause and recognize and be grateful for the immense blessings that are all around me — the joys that were too often going unnoticed in my rush to future happiness. I celebrate more fully my dear blessings, such as a son with special needs learning to drive alone, the love of good friends and the beauty of spring. Yes, one step at a time, I am learning to dance in the rain!

~Jeannie Lancaster

More stories from our partners