I am sorry if it has literally rained on any one's Labor Day parade, and I am terribly sorry for the havoc Hurricane Isaac has caused elsewhere.
But in my drought-soaked area, I have welcomed Isaac's rain.
The rainy weekend has replenished the earth after a long, hot, dry summer -- and nurtured my soul after a difficult couple of weeks. I have walked in the rain; turned my face up to it; fallen asleep to its soothing lullaby; cried with its storms; laughed in its sprinkles; and loved it. Loved it.
My fiance and I spent much of the weekend in the company of good books. As we sat around his house reading, I thought about how wonderful it is to have someone with whom you can embrace the quiet; to feel so comfortable in each others' presence that the quiet is not a void to fill, but an old friend who loves you with or without clever conversation.
And books! The joy of books! How grateful I am for those words that can whisk us out of own heads and into the lives of others, who are more messed up or more admirable or more everything or less everything than we are.
What is better than a good book on a rainy day? A nap after a good book on a rainy day.
We took glorious naps this weekend; sipped wine; and watched scary movies, including Jaws. It made me think less of monster sharks and more of the 1970s, of running around the drive-in playground in red, canvas sneakers, spinning dizzily on the merry-go-round, my whole life stretched out like the light beaming from the giant screen above my head, sluicing through the dark.
But the now has promise, too.
One evening, after books and before movies, my guy ventured out in the rain -- in his pajamas, no less -- to buy butter so he could make me baked hot chocolate, which is chocolate + butter + love. Each bite was more beautiful than the one before it. If Jesus was a dessert, He would be baked hot chocolate.
Goodness, how grateful I am for a man who not only is smart, funny and handsome, but bakes, too. We are polar opposites in the political arena -- and yes, this heated election year has tested our patience at times -- but what that man can do with sugar, butter and chocolate more than makes up for the Rush Limbaugh mug in his cabinet. Liberty, justice and chocolate for all.
In addition to chocolate decadence, I spent time this rainy weekend writing, journaling and praying. I thought about this quote:
I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.
Although I am not usually a "goal-setter" (I have too much laundry for that!), I quietly set a goal ... to set some goals. Hey. It's a start!
One goal? I want my children to be proud of their mom, who does not always get it right, but who takes big, bold chances "to allow my living to open me."
Last night, while my daughter giggled in the next room with a friend who needs and deserves laughter, my son and I curled up on the couch with hot tea and enjoyed the more recent movie adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo
While it drizzled outside, my boy and I talked about the importance of honor and God and the dangers of envy and revenge.
At one point in the film, Edmond Dantes says, "Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes."
I woke up during a storm this weekend. I slipped out of bed and tiptoed into the living room, where I sat on the couch and cried for the bad news someone I love recently received, tears streaking down my face like the rain on the windows. It was needed. Afterward, my soul felt like it had been washed on the delicate cycle.
This morning, I woke at my leisure to a quiet, dark house and the softest tapping of raindrops on the roof.
I don't know what's in store for today, as the rain has changed outdoor plans, but I am okay with not knowing. I am okay with not doing.
It has been the kind of soul-soothing, rainy weekend I needed, reminding me of a poem I once wrote about hurricanes - but have amended slightly here:
As Mother Earth acquiesces.