A long time ago, I knew an old woman who was having a very difficult time in life. (She seemed old at the time, anyway, although I don’t know that I’d classify her that way today.) She was at a crossroads. She had made a decision and her choice had gone badly. Now she didn’t know what to do. She kept saying to me, “Oh, Melanie! What am I going to do??” Day after day she would say this. Day after day I would offer what little advice I could. Day after day my words flew apart like leaves in the wind.
Finally, one day she told me that the problem was not the problem. The real issue, she said, was that she had not been able to cry about it yet. Being young, I did not know what she meant, since in those days, the faucet was always running for me. I hadn’t gotten to the point yet in life where tears become a scarce commodity that must be dearly earned. She told me that if only she could cry, then she could move on, but not before.
|Finally, rain . . .|
She went from sad to frustrated to angry because she could not cry. Every time I saw her, she would say to me, “I still have not cried,” as if it were an announcement of grave importance. And, indeed, it was, but I was too young to understand. “I still have not been able to cry,” she would say, and she would walk silently away, lost in her thoughts.
But then it happened. One day she burst toward me with joy and excitement in her eyes, and she told me that the night before she had finally been able to cry. She grabbed my hands and squeezed them with elation! “And I finally got it out!” she said. She explained that she was finally able to grieve, finally able to let it go, and finally able to think of new options.
Many years later, I still think of her and her beloved tears, of how dear they were to her. I have had some precious tears myself as time has passed, and I now know how vital they can be, how jealously we must guard them. I also now know what it’s like to be unable to cry until the time is right, and to not be in any control whatsoever of knowing when that time will be.
I think the Earth is the same way. We’ve finally had a couple of big rainstorms, rain we so desperately needed, rain that was so longed for and so important. And it finally rained. Then came the morning. The frogs were happy and busily hopping about after the dragonflies. The day after a rainstorm always feels like a fresh start. Everything is washed and clean and new again. There’s an audible sigh of relief, a sound of thanksgiving, a feeling of deep gratitude.
We have been renewed. It is time to pick up the burden again, tighten our belts, and move on down the trail. It has finally rained.