“The pharmacist just insulted me,” a woman sobbed to her irate husband. He snatched the phone from her hand.
“I’m sorry to upset her,” the pharmacist said, “but put yourself in my shoes. First, my alarm didn’t go off and I overslept. I rushed out and locked both my house and car keys inside and had to break a window to get them. On the way to the pharmacy I got a speeding ticket. When I finally arrived late, there was a long line and the phone was ringing. I bent over to pick up a roll of nickels, I cracked my head on a drawer and fell backward, shattering the perfume case. Meanwhile, the phone was still ringing. I picked up and your wife asked me how to use a rectal thermometer. I swear, all I did was tell her.”
Have you ever had a day like that? One man likes to say, “My life is filled with mountaintop experiences. One day, I’m on top of the mountain. The next day the mountain is on top of me.” Those kinds of mountaintop experiences are hard to take.
There will always be times when the mountain is on top. Or, in the words of Charles Tindley, times “when the storms of life are raging.” When that is the case, what do you do? One wise sage gives us a clue:
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
I wager we all have spent too much time just waiting for one kind of storm or another to pass. “When things change…” “When everything settles down…” “When it gets easier…” “When…” Well, you get the idea.
A few years ago, someone stole a friend of my wife’s purse. That was a storm they didn’t see coming. For days she was hassled with replacing lost credit cards and identification. And though it wasn’t a crisis, it was still an aggravation.
As she went about the process of trying to protect her identity from theft and replacing the contents of her purse, I recalled the words of author Matthew Henry, an 18th Century English clergyman. Henry, too, was robbed. Yet he approached his problem differently than I. Unbelievably, his predominant feeling was not anger, but gratitude. What he said was, “I give thanks that I have never been robbed before; that although he took my wallet, he did not take my life; that although he took everything, it was not much; and finally, that it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed.”
No self pity there. He was robbed and came away feeling gratitude for his life. Here was a man who learned something I had not yet figured out – to dance in the rain.
I’ve found that, over the years, there is plenty of rain, and much of my life and yours has been about waiting for the storms of life to pass. So next time it rains, we need to start dancing.
And so, we pray: Lord, you know all too well that there have been many storms in my life… most of which did not cause me to dance… but to start my own pity party. Help me to use those times like my mother taught me… use your illness… your downtimes as an opportunity to help someone else. Amen.
Grace and Peace