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The Art of Rain
The rain moves through the world in a soft and elegant way. It comes whether it is welcomed or not, because it knows it has to. It reminds us that the sun will not always be here, and so we should cherish the sun the next time it comes around.
Sometimes we want to get rid of the rain in our lives. Sometimes we wish to be taken to a different world — one where the sun is always shining. However, is it possible to appreciate the sun without the rain? When I say appreciate, I mean really appreciate. Would we notice the way the sun glistens as it creeps over the trees in the morning? Would we notice the way the sky lights up like gold as the evening turns to night? Would we notice how crisp the sun feels on our skin as we lay outside on the grass? I am not sure we would. The rain gives us love for the sun.
Without the rain, maybe we would forget that the sunshine was even here. Maybe we would forget to say “good morning.” Maybe we would postpone our beach days because we could always do them another day.
The rain and clouds are metaphors for life. We cannot control what will happen in our lives, just like we cannot control the weather. The sun and good times will be here one day and they will disappear the next. They will disappear without any warning sometimes. At first, we will blame the rain and clouds for our misfortune. We may even become bitter at the sun for leaving. However, we must remember that the sun cannot always be here. Sometimes the sun needs to leave so we can see certain things — things only visible in the dark.
Last week, there was a lot of rain. The sky outside my office window was dark and grey. The plants in the garden nearby looked healthy but cold — it looked like they could use a coat. For some reason, the weather reminded me of when I was a kid.
Growing up, I remember disliking the rain. I grew up in Southern California where it rained very little. When it rained, the world around me seemed to stop. It felt like a light switch was turned off. The busy roads became empty. The sidewalks became silent. The dogs in the park stopped barking. I remember my mom telling me not to drive in the rain when I got my driver’s license. I asked her why and she told me, “Californians do not know how to drive in the rain. They get scared.”
As a kid, I convinced myself I had to stay inside during the rain because that is what everyone else did. I was convinced the rain was something I should avoid. I think this hurt me more than the rain ever could. In a way, I convinced myself to put my life on hold whenever it rained. I refrained from calling friends or making plans. I assumed the rain was no fun, and in turn, no fun was had.
All of this changed one day while I was living in New York City. It was around midnight and I had just finished dinner with some friends. I forget exactly what we talked about during the meal but I remember feeling happy and hopeful afterwards. I remember a sparkle of magic being in the air that night.
After dinner, we parted ways and I decided I would walk home. The restaurant was only 20 blocks from my apartment and the nighttime breeze felt nice on my skin. As I was walking, I started to feel raindrops falling from the sky. I then realized that I forgot to bring an umbrella. In a few seconds, the sidewalk sounded like it was making popcorn. Buckets of water dumped from the sky. The streets became flooded. I saw a tree nearby and I ran towards it to take cover.
While I stood under the tree, I contemplated calling an Uber. It was 10 more blocks to my apartment. I thought calling a car might be a waste of money but I also did not want to get my clothes and shoes wet. I pulled out my phone to see how much a car would be and I noticed my phone was dead. I thought, “No problem, I will just wave down a cab.” However, as I patted my back pocket, I realized my wallet was not there. I would later learn I left my wallet at the restaurant.
I started getting irritated. I thought, “Why did it have to start raining now? I was so close to being home. I was having such a great time until this. What a horrible ending to an otherwise beautiful night.”
I stood under the tree for about ten minutes with an unpleasant look on my face. My arms were crossed as I waited for the rain to stop. Another ten minutes passed by. The rain was not going to stop anytime soon. If anything, the rain was getting worse and it was going to last a few more hours at the very least.
I knew that standing under a tree all night was not an option. I had to get up early for work in the morning. At that moment, I realized the only thing I hated more than rain was lack of sleep. I knew I needed to get home soon.
I finally held my hand out to see if the rain was cold. As the water touched my fingers, I realized the rain actually felt nice. Almost reflexively, I started to slowly step out. For some reason, stepping into the rain felt like the right thing to do at that moment. Maybe my curiosity got the best of me or maybe I realized I had nothing to lose. I am not exactly sure.
I found myself standing completely in the rain. If you saw me in the street that night, you would have probably thought I was crazy. Standing in the rain might seem inconsequential to some people, but for some reason, in that moment it felt liberating. I was standing there — taking in everything the world had to offer — for the first time in my life.
As my clothes and shoes were getting soaked, I looked up into the sky and I noticed droplets coming towards me. I noticed how beautiful those droplets were. They looked like little piano keys falling from the sky.
I started walking. As I headed towards my apartment, I entered a slight haze. A cathartic feeling built up inside me. My problems felt so small. The fact that my clothes and shoes were drenched did not bother me. The fact that I had to get up early for work did not bother me either. All of a sudden, I started smiling and I had no idea why. It felt like a giant weight had been lifted, a weight I had been carrying for far too long.
Often, our fears are worse than the things we are afraid of. Maybe we believe fear is a shortcut to life. Maybe we believe fear protects us. However, shortcuts only make our journeys longer. Fear is the biggest obstacle between us and everything life has to offer. In this sense, fear hurts us more than anything else ever will.
On the other hand, we cannot dismiss our fears. We cannot act like they do not exist. Our fears get us moving. They wake us up. They remind us that our next step is important. A meaningful life is not found by being unafraid — it is found when we decide to live, in spite of everything.
Sometimes we are afraid to get hurt. Sometimes we convince ourselves life should be another way. However, maybe life was meant to unfold in this manner. Maybe there was something life was trying to teach us — something we never would have learned otherwise.
Looking back, the rain had given me something I never knew I needed that night. It gave me a sense of peace I was lacking. You see, we cannot control what happens, just as much as we cannot control the weather. The only thing we can control is how we react. We can either move forwards or backwards. On that rainy night, I realized this is the only choice I ever needed.
No matter where you are, eventually it will rain. The rain comes for us all. Maybe it is raining for you right now. Along our journeys, darkness and sadness will sometimes fall too, just like the rain. The point of life is not to turn away from these experiences, just because we forgot our umbrellas. Every struggle enriches our story — it gives us a reason to keep turning the page.
We must embrace both the good and bad chapters of our story. Even the bad ones have lessons to teach us; maybe even more so than the good ones. Sometimes the bad chapters open our eyes by showing us that there is an invincible force within us — a force that will shine bright in both the rain and snow. A force that will shine bright regardless of where we go.
A beautiful story is not a perfect one from beginning to end. A beautiful story is not just sunshine and rainbows. A beautiful story also contains clouds and rain. A beautiful story is not only about beauty and magic, but also about pain and heartbreak. A beautiful story is about getting to the mountaintop by overcoming the challenges along the way; challenges that even the most average life has to face. It is about holding our heads high — despite it all — as we dance and laugh in the pouring rain.
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