The mother of a dear friend is not well. When we were talking recently, I said to him, “Sometimes you just have to stand in the rain.”
I say this, not because I am so smart, but, unfortunately, I have stood in the rain enough times in the past two decades to know that sometimes, that is all you can do.
I remember when my mom was sick. It was intensely difficult. So painful and heart-breaking. I desperately wanted to get out of the rain. I wanted to avoid the difficult feelings I was having. I wanted to go away, and, of course more than anything, I wanted my mother to get better.
I remember one day, about 16 years ago, it was a particularly difficult day. My late mother who I called “mommy” ‘til the day she died, had Parkinson’s disease and dementia. When days were hard, they were really, really hard.
I remember the sadness running through my veins, filling every part of my being, and creating a profound sense of loss and grief for her, for me, for my entire family. It was horrible. At the end of a long day that I spent with both my parents in their apartment in Jerusalem, I said goodbye to my father, got in the elevator to go to my car and drive back to Tel Aviv.
I walked to my car, feeling incredibly helpless and defeated by my mother’s illness. It was late evening and it was raining. In my fog I remember simply and slowly walking, not minding the rain. When I got to my car, I stopped.
I was standing there, and I thought, this is it.
This is all I can do.
I can come here and be with her. I can sit by her side.
But this is all I can do. I cannot do anything else.
All I can do is simply stand in the rain.
I spread my arms out and tilted my head up to the sky.
I stood in the pouring rain for about forty-five minutes.
In the car on my way home I was soaking wet. It was hard to know where the tears from my weeping started and the wetness from the rain ended.
When I walked into the house, my husband looked dismayed.
“What happened?” he asked quietly.
“I had to stand in the rain,” I whispered.
He gently walked me to the steaming shower and said no more.
I have a sweet student. He has a very rough exterior. He is tough, tattooed and very mean looking. If you saw him, you would never think to put the word sweet next to his name.
But I know his heart and it is pure. He is kind and so incredibly sweet.
When I see him, I am always reminded that we must always take the time to look inside, because there is great beauty hiding in the most unexpected places.
After class he came up to me devastated. He told me how he had words with his mom, bad words, mean words. They fought and then she died.
“It is terrible,” he said.
“I cussed at her, called her names right before she died, and now she’s gone. I don’t know what to do.”
I looked at him and said, “There is nothing you can do. Sometimes you have to just stand in the rain.”
“What does that mean, Ms.?” he asked.
“Sometimes,” I said,
“You can’t do anything. It’s not your fault.
And there is nothing you can do. It is kind of like the rain.”
“I want to cry,” he says to me.
I look at this tough, gang banger, and I want to cry, too. Oh, how sweet is this man’s heart.
“Then cry,” I say. “Cry and let it out. Let that be your rain.”
“Sometimes,” I say again,
“Sometimes you just have to stand in the rain and let it pour.”
The life of running a nonprofit is one of the more grueling jobs on this planet.
It’s up and down. It’s a lot of asking and looking for money and a great deal of hard work when the intention really is to just make the world a better place.
Let me tell you this job is not for the faint of heart.
There are days where I feel so overwhelmed that I’m not sure what I should do. And then I remember that sometimes you don’t have to do. You just have to be. And really, I mean really, you just have to stand in the rain.
The last few years I have spent a lot of time standing in the rain, in my professional life, and in my personal life.
I truly believe that these moments are not a test as some people think. I see them as lessons. Important lessons. Life Lessons. How to be strong. How to be wise. How to be compassionate and how to be humble. There are times I would have preferred not to have these lessons but, alas, it doesn’t work that way. Getting wet is uncomfortable and no fun, and when you are wet you can sometimes end up getting sick. But once you are out of the rain, dry and warm that’s when you learn who you really are.
That’s when you learn, you are stronger then you could ever imagine.
That’s when you see that you are capable of weathering the storm.