Today is a dark day, heavy with a rain pounding on trees, grass, road, and roof with a fervor not unlike that spent by a weeping infant (I'm thinking of George, whenever I try to put him in the play yard so I can get work done). My interior response to this undulating torrent is dread.
I fear this exterior darkness may further sink my already tired mood; I worry that the basement will flood and the pool cover pump will cease working, I’m apprehensive of the clingy wetness of my clothes when moving from car to house, or house to mailbox, because none of my own laundry has been washed and so I will be stuck in damp skin for awhile. And that will annoy me.
My kids argued this morning. My oldest girl shouted at my youngest girl and called her Annoying at the breakfast table. From that moment on, Gianna actively tried to pester. everyone. In response to my cues to get ready for school, my autistic son defied me, ignored me, was purposefully rude to me as he sat cross-legged on the floor and went right on playing with his die-cast Nascars (CRASH! ZOOM! BANG!). Then, faced with the disciplinary consequences of his behavior (no iPad in the car), he tantrumed.
After nearly a week of no yelling on my part (a pretty big victory for me, by the way), I broke said fast and shouted and lectured, guilted (I’d hoped) and silenced all of my children by the force of my sharp tongue and strong disapproval. All those bad parenting tricks I keep disavowing were back and at my disposal. The drive to school was silent; my heart did not de-thaw until we were more than half way there (and school is an hour away), after which point I wondered where I had gone wrong. And then began analyzing and cataloging My Life’s Mistakes as they apply to Wounding and Screwing Up children.
OK, I exaggerate, but only to make a point.
As those storm clouds gathered above, I inwardly cursed them. I wanted the sun to come out and lighten all of our moods. I had shadows gathering inside of me, true enough: fears about my son’s future; how to effectively manage our brood in the upcoming summer; financial stress; my mother-in-law’s chronic and debilitating health issues; my husband dealing with all of this, and graduate school; my feeling helpless to aid him in shouldering this cross; temptations to beat myself up over my every human mis-step. These emotions bubbled up and pounded me from within, as loud and hard as the rain.
My rough interior mood needed help. Prayer for sure: so I prayed. Good. But what could I bring to my exterior? What was there that I should do to get relief from anxiety?
Once I'd hauled my still-sleeping baby from the car, I knew the action I should take: I played Anonymous Four's The Origin of Fire via iTunes and I lit a candle on the stove. Now the house smells spicy and gregorian chant sweeps in and out of quietude. My own senses have guided my mind out of this moment to Someone that extends over it, through it, and beyond.
With this change I’ve remembered something I’d forgotten.
I like rainy days.
The light in the daytime sky is muted by clouds heavy as blankets, and those mundane people-made sounds of refrigerators humming and motors turning are muffled by rainfall. These days are cozy. They are an opportunity to enjoy tea by candle light, and to spend time typing one’s thoughts, just for the sake of having them.
Because like any rough morning or trying time (with one’s children or spouse or parent or work or whatever) the storm will rage and then pass. The sky will lighten again, gradually, and the air will feel a little more fresh once the rain ends.
Even as I’m finishing up this post, the rains have moved on and birds are again singing to one another in the trees.