You never know what is going to happen. That statement has the ability to hold us captive by fear or you can allow those words to make everyday some kind of new possibility. When you live with critical illness or someone who has a rare disease you learn how to live life more fully, cherishing minutes rather than days, because everything becomes more fragile. I will admit that way of living was a big change for me since it is my tendency to be very calculated in the way I handle my life. However, learning “how to dance in the rain” offers some of life’s best unexpected opportunities. That was certainly the case for me as well as a newly married couple last Saturday night.
A relative of mine got married mid Saturday afternoon. Months of planning and anticipation gave way to a beautiful ceremony with a reception, dinner and dance that followed. Now if you know my family you already know that we love a good wedding dance complete with a couple polka's. The dance was in full swing when the weather quickly changed the evening plans. A tornado warning in the area forced the bride and groom and their guests to seek safety in the undecorated lower level of the country club.
After about an hour of sitting on the golf carts stored in the lower level, we were allowed back upstairs to continue the wedding celebration. Despite the pounding rain outside it was evident the joyful spirit of the crowd had not been dampened inside. But just as people were getting settled the power went out, leaving only the dim glow of the Exit signs and the dramatic strikes of the lightening storm outside to light the way. Once again the relentless spirit of the crowd rose to the occasion as they began making a kind of music not found on any DJ’s play list. Friends and family were circled around the bride and groom for hours, embracing them in love and laughter, singing and celebrating. It was a wonderful evening despite the weather with many examples of family and friends making the best out of the situation at hand. That is just the way this family is.
There was something oddly familiar about last Saturday night. The stormy outside was different, but the unsettled way I felt inside was the same. Often in Michael’s illness we had to change our plans. We never knew what kind of a day it was going to be for Michael. SIOD caused him to have varying degrees of pain, compromising his mobility and the things he could do. His general health was complicated to say the least, so we woke up each day never really knowing what that particular day would hold. The simplest of events usually meant hours of pre-planning, which more times than not, still resulted in a change of plans. However, Michael’s tenacity and persistence was rarely compromised. Michael and his life taught us that any day can be like a party regardless of what occurs in the day. That approach has become a treasured gift in my life, transforming many of my calculated ways. It allows every day to be an opportunity for some kind of “party” and a reason to celebrate big miracles inside little things.
Surely, this young couples wedding celebration didn’t turn out quite the way they planned but it was still their special day full of blessings and definitely a day of greatness. No doubt there were lessons learned, love celebrated, and new beginnings. Someone once said, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain”.
All of us need to weather a few storms to truly enjoy the real meaning of a good dance even when the music isn’t playing.