It's April, in Seattle. And while I think we all know the saying April showers bring May flowers, up here it goes a little further. September showers bring...well, October showers, and November showers, and December showers....and well here we are in April and it's still raining, and while the flowers are indeed blooming, those showers have also brought moss in droves, and weeds that grow an inch a day, and lots and lots of people wondering if they will ever live to see the sunshine for more than an hour here and there.
I was thinking about this as I was walking my dog a few days ago, and while I haven't loved the amount of rain we have been getting (we got our annual rainfall within the first two months....), I started to think about how there may be more to be gained from the weather than seasonal affective disorder and bucket after bucket of weeds.
One of the reasons I love this corner of the country is the green. It's just greener than the green other places, and it's everywhere, not just where the sprinkler hits. And in between apartment complexes and neighborhoods, there are forests because there are SO many trees. Trees so straight and tall that they make you feel small and strong all at the same time. They're mostly pines and cedars, stretching their very top branches towards heaven. The air is so clean that when I'm not home, visiting Colorado or California, I have a hard time breathing because of the dryness. When I get home I feel like I can breath deeper and the air feels so fresh and clean and good. Everything is cleaner.
It wouldn't be clean, green or fresh and lush without the rain. Just as we wouldn't have the growth or introspection that we get from trials. Trials that may seem to crash life's party (just as the rain may do at our picnic), or make us wonder how much longer we will have to suffer. The Lord knows us, knows what we need, and like a good Father, He knows that one of the best ways to prepare us to return to Him, refine us, and help us reach toward Him, is by allowing us to experience trials.
Since I've moved up here I've gotten a little more comfortable with walking in the rain. It might help that it's not the same rain they get in Pennsylvania or Ohio where you're soaked in a few minutes... But nonetheless it was something I had to get used to. And when I do, and I think about the water raining down and how it really is good for the earth, and good for me, and start to feel almost grateful for it. There is a peace, and a calm, and while I earnestly wait for sunshine and warmth, I can bear the rain because I know that there is growth and beauty that comes only through the washing of the earth.
This weekend was Easter, and while most Christians tend to reflect mostly on the crucifixion of Christ, Mormons take a step back to both acknowledge His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, through His trial and death, and then His triumphant victory over death in the Resurrection. As I looked up at the blue sky with the brilliant sunshine on Easter morn, my heart was filled with joy not only because the weather seemed so fitting for the day, but because it had been SO long since we had enjoyed a sunny day. And all that rain made me even more thrilled to see the sun. It truly is a gift to experience trials and pain in this life, for without them, we can't know joy and peace. We wouldn't seek for the Hope Christ gives us if we could not experience the pain of this world. The joy of the resurrection would mean little if we didn't have the grief and loss that death brings.
And so, at this Easter time, I am grateful for the rain. It is hard to see gray skies so much, and to wonder when the sun will come again, but there is beauty all around us if we just step outside, and somewhere, someone is seeing a rainbow.