“April showers bring May flowers.” Rain is often symbolized as dark and dreary; but this classic rhyme reminds us that after the rain comes sunshine. “This too shall pass.” So we wait, endure the rainy season and our patience will eventually be rewarded with beautiful flowers come May.
Even though we understand that rain is necessary for flowers to bloom, we often shake our fists at a stormy sky. Surely we have all experienced “rainy” seasons in our own lives. Setbacks, disappointments, deaths, hindrances or feelings of unfairness may leave us cold, wet and defeated- doubting the sun will ever shine again.
But what if we could reframe our thoughts about our past setbacks or “failures?” There is a Chinese proverb: the traveler hopes for sunshine- the farmer hopes for rain. It’s all a matter of perspective.
My mom once heard, “Things do not happen to us, they happen for us.” What a beautiful way to reframe and accept life’s raindrops as blessings. One of my dad’s favorite songs is “Blessings,” by Laura Story, “What if trials of this life: the rain, the storms the hardest nights; are Your mercies in disguise.”
We cannot change what has already happened in our lives, but we do harness the power to change our perspective on life’s setbacks- big or small. Its called “cognitive reframing.” With cognitive reframing, you can change the way you look at something and consequently change how you experience it. Stuck in traffic after picking up your child from school? Instead of being annoyed with the extra wait, you could reframe with a positive mindset and view the extra time as an opportunity to have uninterrupted conversation with your child. The event didn’t change- you just changed your perception about the event. This cognitive reframing can be especially useful for wanting to release negative feelings from a past experience.
I believe I have shared this story before and would like to share it again, as it is a powerful example of how perspective and forgiveness can be life-altering. My uncle Peter was tragically killed by a drunk driver at the young age of 20. I can’t even imagine the grief and heart break my grandparents suffered with the loss of a child. The drunk driver was around the same age as Peter and unfortunately had taken the lives of two other college students that same night.
The morning after Pete’s death, my grandmother imagined what it would have been like if Pete was the drunk driver of the car who killed three students. She envisioned herself trying to console Pete and he recoiled from her attempt to comfort him, feeling unworthy of her love. Telling grandpa of this experience, they both decided to call the young driver and offer their compassion and forgiveness, knowing this was a tragic accident. Armed with this new perspective, my grandparents also asked the judge for leniency when it was time to sentence the young driver. With God’s grace and the experience of grandma’s vision, they understood it was a tragic mistake their own children could have made.
Just as rain is nature’s way of replenishing life and allowing flowers to bloom; how can you reframe your own “rainy” days?