Dancing in the Rain…

I love the rain. That is not just a statement brought on by my fatigue of this drought, I really do love the rain. To my recollection I have always thoroughly enjoyed the rain. I have waited months for a good rain storm and I finally was able to enjoy it this week. I am so grateful that the windows of heaven have opened and brought down this wonderful blessing of rain to the thirsty San Joaquin Valley, and for what I suppose could be considered my selfish pleasure.

I am known well in my family for running out and standing in a new rain, dancing a little bit, and even shampooing my hair if the rain comes around at bathtime. Like any child I always enjoyed stomping in the mud puddles and making as big a mess as I could possibly make. Even though I now wince at my own children and grandchildren doing the same, I still remember so fondly days of mud puddles and soaking wet clothes and hair.

Even though I now wince at my own children and grandchildren doing the same, I still remember so fondly days of mud puddles and soaking wet clothes and hair.

With the rain has come clearing skies and a fresh breath of air after many weeks of difficulty inhaling the smoke and particles that have resulted from another trying fire season. Again, I am so grateful for the rain.

One would think that as much as I enjoy the rain I would live in a place where it rained a lot more, and perhaps I would not love it so much if I did. While it may be true that I would not be so appreciative of rain if I lived in a place where it came more frequently, California is my home, and rain or shine, or even shine a little too much, this is where I hope to live my life.

I lived serving a mission for a year and a half in Paraguay where it rains about four times or more as much as it does in my home of Clovis, California. It really rains there. As my recollection goes it rains about a third of the days of the year in Paraguay, and when it does it really comes down.

Elder Malcolm, just after the rain, in Asunción, Paraguay, December 1983.

In just minutes you can go from a clear sky to having to run for cover if you are not prepared with your galoshes and a stout umbrella. Even with your rain boots and head covering engaged, your galoshes can be overflowing in no time, and then there is nothing you can do but laugh and enjoy the storm, because you are soaked. Dry roads become rushing rivers. There is a sense of excitement as work and school are suspended for the day. Everyone just enjoys the rain. If it comes at midday you may just siesta through it. Then, as quickly as it came, the skies clear to blue, and refreshed, the day goes on in that sub-tropical paradise I also call home.

The truth is, we cannot control the rain, nor the shine, but since we must weather the storm either way, we may as well enjoy it. I recently read a quote by author Vivian Greene. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” These words are so true, especially in our current situations.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”

Vivian Greene

Who would have thought back in March of 2020 that we would still be dealing with COVID-19 and all of its side-effects in October 2021? We are still wearing masks where required, or at least where the best common sense would guide us. Many of us are vaccinated, while I still await anxiously the day when my little ones and grandchildren can receive that Heaven sent inoculation. There are yet again shortages of toilet paper, food, and other goods, limited due to the worldwide scope of this pandemic. Many hospitals are overrun and healthcare workers pushed to exhaustion. Over 700,000 people in the United States and over 4.8 million people worldwide have died from related causes, while untold millions have suffered but survived illness. All of this can cause us to ask, “When will the full measure of this crisis be paid?”

Who knows? But we can learn to make the most of the situation, perhaps even learn to dance in the rain.

One thing I have learned in the last 19 months, is that there is no time to waste being so afraid of the effects of storm, drought or pandemic that we stop living life. So, things are different than we are used to. Perhaps we have not been able to have that party we enjoy each year, go to a dance, concert or restaurant. Maybe we have not been able to get together with friends as we are accustom. School looked a little different. Last year it was completely online for my kids. Maybe boarding an airplane or taking public transportation has not been in our best interests, or sitting in crowded theaters or congregations, or insisting on having anything “as usual,” but there is so much we can do in the meantime.

We have learned to prepare a lot of new foods at home. A lot of entertainment that otherwise would never have come over our televisions and computers has been made available. As a family we have made excursions through national parks and to the coast that we probably otherwise would never have made had it not been for this time. I can tell you that I learned a lot sitting next to my children working on school work and easing them through this process of loss and adjustment. A renewal of letter writing and phone calls, along with a new practice of Zooming, has helped friendships to endure. Most importantly we have worked together as a family to make our home a more heavenly place where we worship, Zoom or otherwise, and enjoy the presence of the Spirit of God even while away for a brief season from our fellow followers of Christ.

This is a precious time, which may never come again. The Lord has blessed us with this time, perhaps if for no other reason but to help us to learn to dance in the rain. We are not here, or passing through this thing, just to weather the storm, but to learn and gain new insight, to enjoy the journey the Lord has set for us.

“Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.”

Doctrine and Covenants 112:10

We do not have all the answers, that is apparent by all the answers that we clearly did not have at the beginning of the pandemic. It is sheer arrogance to even think that we have the answers, but there is an answer to getting through all of life’s trials. If we will just be as little children, the same ones that stomp in puddles, and run around in the rain just for fun, but have the sense to reach up to mothers’ or fathers’ hands for guidance and safety, we can get through this and any other crisis. As the Lord has invited us, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers” (Doctrine and Covenants 112:10).

Our answers are in Him, He who knows and loves us best. We can trust in Him, so long as we accept that we do not have all the answers, but are willing to hear His voice, take His hand, and follow. He will teach us, and there will be joy in our learning, even as we learn to follow His voice, take advantage of the hour, and to dance in the rain. I know the Savior is with us, in our homes, in our chapels, in the drought, in the pandemic, and in the rain. May God help us to learn the lessons that must be learned from this time, and walk with us still in the lessons to come. Let us ever walk as a child with parent — with Him. Jesus our Savior lives for us. Of this I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.