What I Learned From a Summer Storm

What It Is WednesdayRecently, my daughter woke up from her midday nap just as the rain was finally coming in. It had been hot and muggy for days and I was so excited to smell that delicious scent in the air that I scooped her up from bed and took her out on our back deck so that I could stand barefoot, my little two-year old perched on my hip, listening for the storm to roll in.

She’d never really seen or heard thunder or lightning while outside, so when the first rumble came rolling in overhead, her eyes grew wide and she buried her head in my neck, holding on to me tightly. I rubbed her back and explained to her that the clouds were getting ready to rain. I talked about how big and strong the skies had to be to hold all of that rain and that the noise and the light were just the sky saying, “Get ready! We’re sending the rain! The plants need a drink of water!”

I pointed to the clouds moving in, expressed awe at the lightning in the distance, and then told her to wait and listen for the thunder. She looked up intently and then when she heard the thunder, she looked at me with excitement. I wondered aloud if the thunder was getting louder because the sky was getting excited to drop all of that heavy water on the grass and the trees.

We watched the distant flash and then waited again until the thundering crack rolled over our heads, the dark, heavy clouds moving above us. My daughter held her face up to the wind, listening raptly to the thunder, and then looked at me with big eyes.

“I like it!”

I smiled at her. “I like it too!”

We stood there for a long time, me remaining mindful that the lightning was keeping its distance, both us enjoying the increasingly powerful claps of thunder. I explained while we waited about the wind and how it helped the clouds to travel to all the places that need water. I explained why the clouds had become dark, that they were heavy with the water for the plants. She nodded attentively in a way that I haven’t seen often in my energetic little toddler, soaking up all of this information about a new experience.

“Thank’oo, clouds!” We thanked the clouds for bringing water, waving as they moved above us.

“Water coming, grass! You drink! Trees, water coming!” My daughter reassured the grass and trees that a drink was on the way.

As we marveled at the sky and expressed gratitude for what was coming, my daughter stilled into patience by her faith in my promise of impending rain, I heard the sound of rain falling in the next yard and then I felt the first few drops.

“The rain is here!” I smiled at her and we held out our hands and laughed as the drops fell faster and faster. I asked her if she wanted to go in and she shook her head, watching each drop collect on her arm.

Suddenly, the full rain was upon us and the downpour began, the drops pelting us until my daughter had finally decided we should go inside.

“Oh wow! Big drink! Mommy, go in the house!” I scurried inside while both of us laughed and we walked into the living room just as my husband was arriving home from the store. Daddy was instantly regailed with the story of how the clouds work and then big booms and the grass having a drink and the rain falling on our arms, and then we all watched the storm through the front window for a while.

I watched my daughter and I thought about how we shape our loved ones’ experiences with the way we frame what is happening around us. I could have run inside at the first crack of thunder because of her initial reaction and we both would have missed these precious moments. But I explained, and I expressed appreciation, and I showed no fear, and in that moment my daughter was able to hear me and see me and then enjoy a wild and beautiful show of nature.

I want to carry this moment forward with me, how I was able to speak so that she could hear and understand. I want to live in a world where this is how we learn about ourselves and each other, with careful exploration of how things work and how sacred and fascinating life is.

I want to hold the world tight when we’re afraid and then I want us to help each other refocus through carefully consideration, careful observation, gratitude for what we have, and through sharing openly when we have wisdom and perspective that might reframe our future.

I want to remember that each moment is sacred, can be a teaching moment, and that I am so privileged to be a part of these moments, never taking any of it for granted. I want to remember that I have more than many and that I have more to give with each day, observing and learning. I want to remember that my actions and what I accept about the world and how it works will frame my daughter’s future.

Let the rolling thunder of our current times be a vivid reminder of the power we have in witnessing and giving voice to what is beautiful, sacred, fragile, and important in the world. In the way that I can transform a little girl’s experience of a rainy summer sky, so too can we all bear witness to and transform the narrative around the storm we face as a nation on so many levels.

Let our voices soothe a hurting nation by saying, “I see you. I hear you. I want this to be different. I am here and will help facilitate the change. I have hope for and plan to work toward meaningful, healing growth, and I want all of this abundance to be available to everyone, not just me, and not just people like me. I am listening so that my words are infused with everything I can possibly know about the world, my own lens, and what is needed of me in the days to come.”

Let our words be the lightning that draws our eyes toward those who need us. Let that lightning summon the rolling thunder of our thoughtful actions toward change. Let the subsequent healing rain soothe what is hurt and afraid and angry in each other us so that positive changes can grow vividly green and take root in our hearts and minds.

This post is my contribution to this week’s edition of a blog hop started by Kelley Harrell of Soul Intent Arts called “What It Is Wednesday,“ which gives bloggers a chance to dauntlessly tell it like it is. Check out the inaugural post to learn more about joining in or just to read other blogs in the hop.

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