Monday, June 30, 2008

Rain, Sunshine and Rainbows

It rained the morning of the funeral. The preacher said, "The world is crying."
A young man, in his early twenties, shot in the back by a jealous ex-husband.

A fourteen-year-old boy discovers his mother has committed suicide by hanging herself in the closet.

That's enough. You've heard all the tragic stories and probably know some of the people involved. Maybe they've been members of your own family or are close friends. Is there any one of us who hasn't had these experiences?

I have lived through major United States wars, yet the only person I knew personally who fought in one of them was the son of a friend of my parents. He left for WWII a carefree young man, fun to be around, teased me like crazy and returned older, sadder, quieter--still a young man, but with a limp that would forever be a reminder of what he'd seen.

Lynn Anderson sang a song written by Joe South, "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden." Perhaps the song was based on Hannah Green's autobiographical novel with the same title. the book was made into a movie in 1977. Words in the chorus of the song are: "Along with the sunshine, there's gotta be a little rain sometimes."

Our lives aren't static. They are constantly changing through death, divorce, violence, the world economy, war and even our own bad decisions. We've all known rain--storms, tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes--in our lives whether actual or figurative. But haven't we known sunshine, too? Haven't we enjoyed peace, birth, love, joy? We can fill in our own sunshine.

My rain has been death, divorce and bad decisions on my part and on the part of some of the people I love. But my sunshine has been the birth of my daughters, the birth of my grandchildren and great granddaughter (although she was an "accident"), falling in love and marrying at the age of 67 a guy I'd known since sixth grade, meeting Jesus in 1971, having long-time friends and finding new ones, graduating from college at the ripe old age of 35, teaching school for 23 years, publishing my first novel--all that and more.

If we make a list, we see that our lives are a balance between the rain and sunshine. It's a given that we'll have both. But when the rain comes, we need to remember that the sunshine follows, and not only the sunshine but the rainbow.

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