Let it Rain

By Elaine Olson, Ph. D.

"Rain, rain, go away, come again another day." Secretly or audibly, we've all muttered these words. That's because, for most of us, the thought of rain means change, and not for the better. A good hair day goes bad, or a golf time gets rescheduled. Maybe the clean car of yesterday needs a return trip to the car wash. Our tendency to associate negative thoughts to the word 'rain' is obvious.

It's unfortunate that rain gets such a bad rap considering the positive changes rain can produce. Several years ago, my husband and I went through a particularly rainy season in our marriage. Perhaps the word 'stormy' or the words 'torrential hurricane-like downpours' would be a more accurate way of describing it. My husband has even been known to call it a 'tsunami of the soul.'

During one particularly nasty deluge, my anger escalated like a flash flood. Anything in my path was in real danger. The look of panic on my young daughters' face revealed her fearful thoughts; it's time to seek higher ground. With this rainstorm, something or someone had to finally change.

Desperate to know the secret that would fix my husband, (after all, he was the one destroying our marriage), I grabbed my bible, closed my eyes and flopped it open. Randomly, I pointed to some scripture on some page and opened my eyes. I don't recommend this type of bible study, but in my sodden condition, these words were thrown to me like a lifeline.

"Whoever has no rule over his own spirit, is like a broken down city, without walls." -- Proverbs 25:28

This wasn't the lifeline I expected or hoped for. The words appeared to be directed at me, not my husband. Were my own actions and attitudes contributing to the problems in our relationship? Was my anger stirring the relational tempest?

Looking closer, this lifeline seemed to indicate that it was possible to control my anger. And in not doing so, I was allowing everything that was important to me to be unprotected and vulnerable. My family was at risk because of my lack of self-control.

As I continued in prayer and reflection, I was reminded of the life of the Apostle Paul. Even though ship wrecked, beaten, rejected and thrown into prison, he managed to keep his cool. He faced many storms throughout his life, yet his actions remained honorable.

I know very little about hydrology except to say that rain is necessary to the cycle of life. Rain has the ability to refresh and makes things new. And rain is not always gentle. Heavy rains at the right time strategically soften hardened soil conditions preparing the ground for new life. Over time, the seasons of rain can change even the rockiest of landscapes.

There will always be days when we long for the rain to 'go away and come again another day'. I certainly never wanted my daughter to think of me as 'Katrina'. However, years after my storm has come and gone, I understand what the old prophet meant by 'the Lord has His way in the whirlwind and the storm'. I'm thankful for the rain, and for the transformation and new beginnings it can bring.

Elaine Olson, Ph.D., is a professional counsellor, teacher and author. She has a private counselling practise in Ontario and has actively supported many social and women's initiatives for the past 20 years. She is married and a mother of three teenage daughters. www.elaineolson.org



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