I have to tell you this story, because I know I will pay dearly for it, and I just have to play it as many times as I can before then.
Husband left his phone at my mom’s house after a Sunday dinner. I arranged to meet my brother to get it back the following afternoon. It was a rainy day. There is a Chick-Fil-A conveniently located pretty much exactly half-way. We could meet, sit and chat over junk food, and the Man Cub could climb around and get out of the house for a bit.
We ordered chicken and waffle fries and found a small table right next to the plexiglass boundary of the play area. Man Cub, of course, wanted nothing to do with waffle fries once he saw the slide – for which I am grateful – so, as there were no other kids in there anyway, I stripped him of his shoes and released him while we sat and ate and watched from just outside the wall.
A short time later a young father and his son – maybe a year older than Man Cub – pulled open the door of the play area and stored tiny sneakers in a tiny cubby. Little Boy took off for the big stairs, and Young Father sat down on the bench inside the play area with his smartphone.
Boys played, Young Father occasionally got up to spin a mirror or push a button, my brother and I ate and talked and watched.
Eventually, during a lull in our own conversation, my brother looked up and casually commented, “Ooop. Throwing punches.” Read more…
The sentiment wants to go immediately to rainbows.
There’s always a rainbow after the rain.
It’s a nice thought. Because rainbows are kind of a universal symbol of hope and beauty – maybe even mystery and/or divinity – so it’s comforting to be able to sit in the middle of a storm and look forward to the beauty that will come of it.
And when it does come, it’s stunning. We sit and we marvel at a ribbon of color suspended in the sky. We comment on the vibrancy of the tones, the length of its arc. We remember grade school science experiments with prisms in shoeboxes, and we admit – if only to ourselves – that even though we know how we’re still fascinated by the mystery of the why.
But the truth is, there isn’t always a rainbow after the rain. In fact, rainbows are kind of the exception. I don’t expect to see a rainbow after every rain. I don’t look for it. I don’t get confused when I don’t see one. When we do see them, we point and we pull out our smartphones and we make sure everyone else sees, because it’s not normal.
There isn’t always a rainbow after the rain.
Sometimes storms end and the sky is still dark. Sometimes the clouds don’t move on right away. Other times the sun does break through, and you’re just not in the right place to catch the light refracting through the moisture in the sky: there’s a rainbow for someone else, but not for you.
After a few storms come and go with no rainbow, you start to realize that the platitudes aren’t true. There isn’t always beauty stretched above us after every storm. Light does not always break in right away and do magical things to help us forget the gray.
There isn’t always a rainbow, but there are always puddles.
And if my son has taught me anything, it’s that puddles are freaking awesome. Read more…
First Mate’s Log. Thursday, September 4, 2014. Night 6.
We have hope that we are finally nearing our ultimate destination. Some of the crew report seeing glimmers of it on the horizon, though I remain cautious about entering into their enthusiasm. I do not want to give false hope.
The night was fairly calm. A few small storms, some rumbling in the distance, but nothing too severe. We were all thankful for a relatively calm passage.
First Mate’s Log. Friday, September 5, 2014. Night 7.
Rough seas, although some of the crew insist they see land yet on the horizon. We fought the storms as best we could to continue forward progress, but eventually the Captain couldn’t go on and advised we relent to the force of the gale. I was disappointed at turning back.
First Mate’s Log. Saturday, September 6, 2014. Night 8.
We recovered our route during the day and found ourselves not so far off course as I had feared. Tonight was almost smooth sailing – a few rough patches, but nothing our crew couldn’t handle – until just before dawn. It was as though the beastie lay in wait until we were confident of a clear night and then crashed in to destroy our hopes as well as our sanity.
For almost an hour we fought. The storm threw everything it had at us, but we fought back and held our ground.
First Mate’s Log. Sunday, September 7, 2014. Night 9.
He likes his new game, this merciless foe. We felt sure of a smooth seas by mere natural justice. It’s been too long. The crew felt deserving of a calm night, and they almost got one.
But again, just an hour before first light the tempest arose again, battering our senses and seeming to laugh at us all the while. He lured us again into a sincere calm, only to dash it away at the last moment. We fought hard nonetheless, and the vessel was strong. We did not relent.
First Mate’s Log. Monday, September 8, 2014. Night 10.
More of the crew are now insisting there is land on the horizon, and on a clear morning like this one I am inclined to believe them. It was a calm night. The beastie awoke once and the crew started to stir, but he swam right by as though he didn’t see. Some are saying he’s given up – realized he’ll never defeat our sturdy ship and determined crew, or we’re too close to journey’s end now for him to fight. Others are arguing he simply didn’t see us, or that there’s a God in heaven what kept us hidden for the night – knowing we need our rest.
I am hopeful the former are right, and I do believe there is something out on water’s edge – kissing the sun every morning. But I keep my opinion to myself for now. I do not want to inspire hope where there may yet be none.