This past week has brought our first steady rains in quite some time. The Woodlands is usually lush and green with flowers everywhere, pretty much the tropical part of Texas. But 15 inches behind in our annual rainfall has left this area brown and dried up with people hiding in their AC filled homes this summer including on July 4th which for the first time that I can remember has not ended with a bang due to fire fears. With the rain this week, I was thankful that my yard is beginning to look green again, but I was also reminded of a few very special days in my life.
I've always loved rain and big storms, there's just something so awesome, scary and calming about them all at the same time. Maybe it's the intensity with which they come and hit, or perhaps it's that part of you that just wants to snuggle under a blanket with a good book listening to the rain, or the fun moments when you're caught out in it and it makes you giggle and want to step in a puddle. And it's kind of cool that three of the most important and memorable days of my life happened on dark and stormy days.
On September 24, 2000 in Sydney, Australia, as I headed to the Olympic venue nervous and excited for my final five dives, the ones that would end up catapulting me to the top of the podium, I stared out the bus windows watching the rain start to fall. As I walked down the long corridor between the pool and a wall of windows, I watched the rain come down harder, even a little sideways. I remember smiling, thinking, "These conditions are just perfect." And they were.
Two years later on September 7th, I was supposed to have a beautiful, much dreamed of outdoor wedding. But a few days prior we started tracking Tropical Storm Fay that was headed right for us, like a last minute uninvited guest. Fortunately the night before the wedding, an available room inside opened up for us to use. This room happened to be all windows on two sides over looking a pretty lake. I had the joy of being married nice and dry inside with the view of a lovely rain outside.
As we were counting down the days in May until our little bundle of joy came, it was really hot and dry and drought conditions were already apparent. I remember telling Eriek one day that I wouldn't be surprised at all if it rained the day Arella was born, it just seemed right. Well, she showed up two weeks early on May 11th, one of the only rainy days we've had this year.
There's just something about those rainy days. Maybe I just have a thing for water. But I think it's more of a reminder for me of God's promises.
Back in the day people were running amok, doing whatever they pleased, totally corrupted and full of violence. God saw that their wickedness was great and that every intent of their heart was evil, except for Noah who pleased God. So God decided to destroy every living thing (except those on the ark with Noah) with a great flood. After the rain stopped and the flood waters receded, God made a sign, the rainbow, to mark a covenant that He would never again use a flood to destroy the earth. So when we see the rainbow it is for God and for us to remember His covenant.
Dolly Parton has a great quote, "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you've gotta put up with the rain." I think that is why I love rain and storms so much, for the hope that follows it. Not every rain storm promises a great event in my life and not every great event will happen on a rainy day. But we all go through the storms of life and sometimes just feel like we're drowning. If we can look forward with hope and excitement for the rainbow to come, it makes putting up with the rain a lot easier.