“No matter what you do, life always has its storms. The way I see it, there are three things you can do: you can try to run away from the rain, you can curse the fact that it is falling on you, or you can thrill in the moment and dance in the rain! That, my friends, is truly living!” — Thirumur David Kiran
I penned these lines a few years back when I was at a very low point in my life. Nothing was going right, my life seemed to be falling apart in front of my eyes, and I seemed pretty powerless to do anything about it.
Now, I have a pretty odd tradition. Whenever I am feeling angry or depressed, I take a long walk. And I keep on walking until I get some sort of clarity. However, this time it was pouring rain. But I went out and walked anyways.
Before long I was drenched. It was then that I began to see some very interesting scenes around me. Some people were running for shelter, trying desperately to get out of the rain. Other people—mostly motorists stuck at the traffic light—were cursing the fact that they were getting soaked to the bone with nothing that they could do about it. And then there was a group of children dancing with wild abandon, splashing in the puddles, and having the time of their lives!
My moment of clarity had arrived.
I realized that what I had to do was not try to run away from the difficulty, nor curse the fact that the difficulty had come, but rather to make the most of this time of difficulty, knowing that it would soon pass and all that would remain would be the lessons learned through it. So I went back to my life and did my best to revel in the difficulty. And today I can count a number of blessings and lessons that came through that time of hardship and despair.
Obstacles truly are stepping stones that make us into what we need to be in order to accomplish the work that is ahead. But what do we do when those obstacles arrive? Do we run away from them? Curse the fact that they have come to afflict us? Or do we revel in them and milk them for whatever their worth, knowing that they will pass and only the beauty will remain?
The famous painter Auguste Renoir was world renowned for his beautiful masterpieces. However, Renoir was confined to his home during the last decade of his life, almost completely paralyzed by arthritis. Yet he continued to paint in spite of his infirmities. He couldn’t hold a brush anymore, so he strapped to his arm and kept on painting.
One day, a friend visited the elderly artist working in his studio. Renoir face was contorted with agony and it was obvious that he was fighting torturous pain with each brush stroke. Overtaken with compassion, the friend blurted out: “Auguste, why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?”
Renoir answered simply: “The beauty remains, the pain passes.”
And so, almost to his dying day, Renoir put paint to canvas. One of his most famous paintings, Bathers, was completed just two years before his passing, 14 years after he was stricken by this disabling disease.
Auguste Renoir understood that the best things in life are often on the other side of difficulty and so he determined to push through the pain, knowing that the beauty would remain forever. We know this too, in theory, yet how do respond to the difficulty when it hits us?
May God help each of you to dance in the rain and revel in the difficulties, so that you can see the beauty that comes afterwards!