With our friends arriving on Tuesday my week got off to a busy start. Sheets needed to be washed, beds needed to be made, and a special meal needed to be planned for Tuesday night.
On Tuesday morning we woke to a stead rainstorm outside our window. As my girls ate their breakfasts they begged me to take them outside and let them splash in the puddle that forms at the base of our front porch step.
I looked at my to-do list; reluctant to take the time to let them go out and play. I looked at the clock and considered how quickly the morning was already slipping away. I looked at my girls and their eager faces and the rain falling in long, fat drops outside.
“Okay,”I said. “Go get your swimsuits.”
“Goody!” They squealed as they raced upstairs.
What I thought would be a few minutes of fun turned into forty-five minutes of summer joy as my girls laughed, and splashed, and pranced in the rain.
Time after time they ran around the loop of our front porch and sidewalk. Time after time they splashed with both feet in the deepest puddles they could find. Time after time they opened their hands and mouths wide to feel and taste the raindrops anyway they could.
As I sat on our front porch bench, still in my pajamas, and watched with my camera in hand I couldn’t help but marvel at the joy they were finding right there in the midst of the rain.
Sometimes the seasons of our lives seem full of rain and storms. We brave illness, loss, heartbreak, brokeness, disappoints, and all kinds of trouble while trying to find shelter, while trying to find calm in the midst of the downpour.
Shelter and peace can be hard to find and joy even harder.
But as I watched my girls at play, I was reminded of how prevalent joy can be even in the rain, and when you get down to it, when you look through the eyes of a child it isn’t hard to find.
In reality, it’s as easy as jumping with both feet. What is a puddle but a deep well of joy? When we dive in with all we have, when we meet the challenge with our whole heart, when we pounce the temptation to crumble in fear, joy splashes and ripples around us.
It’s as easy as opening your hand wide, trusting the one who sends the rain. When we trust what He has for us, and the way He chooses to give and to take, joy falls fresh and fills our open places.
It’s as easy as craning your neck so your face meets the sky, closing your eyes, and sticking out your tongue. When the rain falls all around you, when it soaks you head to toe, when you receive the drops on your skin, on your tongue, joy covers you, it seeps inside.
Just like a child.
It can be that easy.
I don’t mean to minimize the pain or the difficulty that comes with life’s storms. Nor do I mean to offer a fluffy and fanciful fix. But I do mean to give an avenue to hope, a way to childlike laughter. A respite from the thief that steals and destroys.
Whatever season or storm you’re facing, look for the puddles, look for the joy. It’s there. It’s all around you.
The rain it can bring heartache but it can also bring grace.
Buckets, and rivers, and oceans of grace falling down in long, fat drops and flowing all around us.