We have power to change view

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 13, 2012

“Rain, rain, go away.” That was the song playing in my head Sunday as I watched my yard become a pond. Under a dark mid-morning sky, my nighttime security light popped on as sheets of water poured off the house.

The first rain of the weekend arrived with a welcome from my garden. Now, the tomato plants are bowed under the weight of soaked, heavy leaves. All of my plans for planting and weeding and enjoying some sunshine washed away in the river that ran down my driveway.

As I stood at the door watching more dark clouds roll our way, a memory of another stormy day overtook me. Like today, rain changed my plans for being outside, and I did not react well to that change.

In fact, there was a house full of unhappy kids that day. All of us moaning and groaning and being generally whiny because of our weather-enforced imprisonment inside. Looking back on it now, I think about what my mother experienced being in the midst of a bunch of sulking, fussy children. I also remember her solution to the problem.

As we sat pouting, Mother went into action, gathering a stack of blankets and pillows. She called us into the hall where that stack of “building materials” sat at the foot of the stairs. Without too much explanation, she started draping blankets over the stair rails, hooking them together with clothespins. Pillows around the edges kept the makeshift walls in place.

When she finished, we looked with amazement at her creation. The hall and stairs disappeared, replaced in our imaginations with what was one moment a cave in the wilderness, and the next a fort in the old west. With the light off, the hall became a campsite with an imaginary fire burning outside a teepee, and my siblings and I were Indians sitting around that fire.

I don’t know how long we played in that hall turned wilderness, but I remember our disappointment when Mother announced that the rain was gone, and invited us to take ourselves outside to play. With great sadness, we dismantled the fort/cave/teepee seeing the “walls” return to blankets stacked beside stairs.

Sunday as I watched yet another round of showers start, I smiled remembering that long ago day. How quickly our view of something we thought was awful became something we enjoyed and didn‘t want to end – all because of a change in the way we looked at it. A gloomy day became a treasured childhood memory that returned for a visit to brighten my rainy morning years later.

And, Mother created that memory by caring enough to give us the gift of using our imaginations to lift us out of our gloomy mood. Ah, perhaps that is the lesson of my rainy-day Sunday. We always have it in our power to change how we view a situation.

If we choose, even the storms that arise can be opportunities for discovering creative ways to ride them out until the sun returns.