In NY where it gets cold in the winter and hot in the summer, people don’t really talk much about the weather. Over there, where the leaves shed from trees in the fall and the flowers bloom in the spring, nobody talks much about it. They don’t complain. They don’t boast. They are grateful for the pleasant seasons and are quiet when the not-so-good climate changes come around.
The only time someone might bring it up is if they address a practical concern such as how to dress for the weather. Or someone might grab the topic as an anchor in order to politely redirect an unpleasant conversation, as in “Ummm, how’s the weather down there?”
But here in Los Angeles, we talk a lot about the weather.
When it’s sunny, we boast and gloat. When it’s chilly — that means 60 degrees or below — we complain.
And when it rains – and boy does it rain in a typical winter of December through February — the conversations begin in unison while putting on boots, rain jackets and other gear.
As we bundle up, dramatically pulling a scarf around neck, we share with friends how we either love — or hate– the rain.
And then came The Drought. No rain for five or six years. Yeah, a trickle or a tease here and there. And maybe a few short ten minute showers, but for the most part? Nothing. Nada. Grass turned brown. The air was dry. The reservoirs dried up.
We conserved water. We set our sprinkler timers to spray water one or two times per week. Or we ran the hose around the lawn for a few minutes only. We took shorter showers, loaded larger and fewer washing machine and dishwasher loads.
Instead of chatting calmly to each other about the weather, we listened to the experts warn us: If we used too much water from our starving reservoirs, we’d be fined.
We silently hoped, wished and even prayed for rain.
Now, after five or so years, we finally have some serious rain.
And…something interesting happened.
People stopped complaining.
For one, it’s no longer politically correct to whine about the nastiness or draft. These days, no self-respecting Angelino after experiencing the drought would complain about rainy weather.
But the real reason we don’t complain about rain anymore is that we’re happy. We genuinely appreciate that rain, the freshness, the feeling of water coming from a higher Source.
Once we lose something we miss it.
And then if we are lucky and blessed enough to have that lost thing or experience returned to us, we value it. We know that good things in life are not to be taken for granted.
We realize that there are some things in life that we just cannot take for granted, can’t control or hold onto forever. At the end of the day, we don’t have control over every facet of our destinies.
We can lose stuff in the blink of an eye. We saw that with the rain.
We may have personal instances where we lose things in our lives and then are fortunate to have those things returned.
A lost item is found. Someone without a job finds a good one. An ill friend is cured.
A stream of bad fortune in life is followed by some happy occasions: An engagement, a marriage, a new baby.
Bad times become good. Things in our lives improve.
When I broke my ankle three years ago, I was in pretty bad shape.
For the better part of a year I dealt with surgeries, bed rest, and pain. Finally, after almost nine months, the physical therapy began. And when I was once again able to walk, I was thrilled.
As the pain lessened, and my limp lessened and then disappeared, I felt gratitude for every step I take on firm ground.
Till today, I wear comfortable shoes and have banished most high heels but I don’t care. Three years after I broke my ankle, I remember the pain and anguish I suffered. And I will (almost) never forget to be grateful for the miracle of a working ankle.
Nowadays when it rains here in the Hollywood, you’ll hear people saying, “isn’t it great?” or “don’t you just love this weather?” Or “Oh, yes, G-d knows we need it,” or “We prayed for this.” Because even if people hate cold weather no one would express that during these days of rain after drought.
Let us look around us at all the blessings we have today. Things are far from perfect. G-d knows, our country has its arthritis and its bones are aching. Many are without jobs. Families and friends have stuff that’s going on in their lives that makes things hard for them.
But let’s open our eyes and ears for the good that comes our way. When we do get those showers of blessings, let’s embrace them.
Let’s sing in the rain how happy we are.
Let’s show empathy for those who have less in some areas. Let’s have courage to try to improve the lacks in our own lives.
Just yesterday I heard the radio announcer predict rain for today and the weekend and although I was tempted to vent, complain, kvetch and rant, I stopped myself.
Instead I say:
Bring on the rain!