Our son Nick is in Peru on a mission. He’s pretty much hitting the half-way point this week. His mother and I knew that he would exceed our expectations in things he learns and the ways he grows, but even our wildest imaginings have been left in the dust by what this young man has gained in experience and how much he has developed.
He continues to share with us some pretty intense thoughts and observations on life; what is leaving us speechless is how closely his learnings mirror our own. Here we are a world away from each other, and yet we feel closer than ever as we share incredibly similar experiences and lessons.
Anybody wonder how that could happen?
And the knowledge of it brings me to my knees in gratitude and humility.
There was something he had written that I had misunderstood, so I asked for more explanation. What I got back was an incredibly mature, yet vulnerable self-awareness.
In a nutshell, he shared how over time he had come to embrace our family motto of “learning to dance in the rain.”
For quite a few years we seemed to take hit after hit and I think we felt a bit shell shocked. To not let each volley of ammunition knock us back over again we learned to stand in a bit of a crouch with our heads down and shoulders squared.
We were ready for the next bomb to hit.
And for quite some time, they just kept coming.
But Nick realized that after a while, with our heads down like that, we kind of missed so much of the great stuff that was also coming our way.
And so he shared that after getting a pretty good handle on dancing in the rain, he realized that perhaps more difficult, right now, would be to learn to dance in the sun.
After crouching for so long, and building sturdy leg muscles that are ready to spring to safety instantaneously, and strengthened shoulders that can withstand the barrage of blows, we need to learn that we can actually stand upright again.
If a blow comes, we are strong enough to handle it.
But we can also close our eyes, turn our faces upward, and let the sun simply shine down on us. Fill us with warmth and safety and a different kind of strength.
It can be harder to build the kind of muscles that allow vulnerability and exposure so that good things can get past the blockade of self-preservation and protection, and fill our tired bodies with light and goodness.
It is certainly scarier.
Because after so many bombs, we aren’t sure we can take too many more.
So we buckle down and wait.
But while we are waiting, what are we missing?
After I read Nick’s email Saturday morning over and over, marveling at his perception and clear explanation, I felt energized to do my own dance in the sun.
Perhaps there was a bit of the manic phase that made me feel as if I could do anything that added to my enthusiasm.
By Saturday afternoon another small volley of artillery came over the barricade and I was brought back to reality.
Okay, I’m not Superman and there is still a limit to what I can do.
But does that mean that it is an all-or-nothing proposition? Is it either storming with lightening or bright blue, cloudless skies?
As I talked through my thoughts with Ann, she kind of smiled and said “I think our life is closer to being partly cloudy.”
Again, wow –
How did I end up in this family of people who are wise beyond their years?
I don’t wonder about that either.
And it also makes me fall to my knees in gratitude and humility.
I guess the bottom line is that after all we have been through, we are stronger. We are better. We are less afraid of what may be coming.
So, in a life that is partly cloudy there will be times when the clouds are darker and thicker and rain will fall; there will also be times when the clouds clear away and it is just a beautiful day.
It is now time to stand up straight and tall, heads back a little, and just as we are ready for the rain that will undoubtedly come again, we are also ready for the sun.
Regardless, we will choose to dance.
How about you? Are you able to dance in whatever weather may come your way?
That’s the trick.