dancing in the rain

Dancing in the Rain

As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote in his 1842 poem The Rainy Day, “Into each life some rain must fall.” I thought about this quote recently when the daughter of a dear friend was diagnosed with a type of childhood cancer. That, surely, is more of a full-fledged downpour than just a little rain.

Before I heard my friend’s news, I had been feeling a bit sorry for myself because of a minor setback. Yet that issue in my life was nothing but a mere sprinkling of rain compared to what my friend was facing. To her immense credit, my friend stayed strong throughout her daughter’s surgery and long recovery. I couldn’t help but think that my friend – a former dancer as I am – was dancing in the rain.

In fact, that notion inspired me to stop belittling my own circumstances and start metaphorically dancing in the rain myself. As the famous quote by author and speaker Vivian Greene explains, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass . . . It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” On the other hand, sometimes literally enjoying the rain is all I need. I recently moved from New York City to Washington State, a place notorious for frequent rain. I genuinely like sitting at my desk while the raindrops make sonorous little splashes on the windowpane.

rain on the windowpane

Cozy and safe inside, I feel grateful that the rain will help the trees and other plants on the land where I live now. After all, the ritual Native American Rain Dance was meant to bring on the lifegiving rain. True enough, however, the Native Americans also perform a religious Sun Dance that celebrates the belief that there is no end to life, but only spiritual deaths and rebirths.

And as Longfellow wrote in that 1842 poem, “Behind the clouds is the sun still shining.”

Fortunately – very fortunately! – for my friend with the sick little girl, the surgery excised the cancerous tumor completely enough so that no chemo or radiation will now be required. The bright and bubbly four-year-old is following in her mother’s dancing footsteps and has been cast as a Little Mouse in a local production of the Christmas classic The Nutcracker. May she dance on, yet always follow in her mother’s emotional footsteps along with her actual ones by dancing in the rain as well as in the sun.

In closing, please enjoy this clip of the incomparable Gene Kelly dancing in the rain. As he once said, “You dance love, and you dance joy, and you dance dreams. And I know if I can make you smile by jumping over a couple of couches or running through a rainstorm, then I’ll be very glad to be a song and dance man.”

I’ll dance to that!


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