Are you like me when you set to clean out a closet, a drawer, a box? Inevitably, I will come across something that will invoke a memory or a stack of pictures that I just have to look through. I always get sidetracked somehow.
But sometimes it’s a good thing. One day I was cleaning out my nightstand, which was just about to burst open from all the stuff I had stashed in there over time (out of sight, out of mind, right?), and I came across something I had written many years ago. It was like discovering treasure. As soon as I found it, I knew I wanted to share it with my friends who read my blog when the right time came. I suppose now is the time…
Playing in the Rain
I stepped outside just a moment ago and watched the rain pouring as if somebody were emptying an enormous bucket out over the building. For some reason, it made me think about when I was a child and my brothers and I would play out in the rain sometimes. I looked at the rainwater gush from the gutter drains and remembered how we’d put our heads under them and end up getting soaked. We could have “caught our death of cold,” as some might say. And for some other reason, that made me think about my parents.
It’s easy for children to thank their parents for giving them a house to live in, food to eat, and clothes to wear. For taking them to church, showing them the love of Jesus, and teaching them right from wrong. Those are the blessings we often think of first. But there are so many more.
So thank you for buying toys we didn’t really need, paying school tuition you couldn’t really afford, and forgiving us when we really should have known better. Thank you for coaching little league football teams and cheerleading squads and attending awards banquets. Thank you for not only coming to those basketball, volleyball, and soccer games but actually showing that you cared about them. Thank you for suffering through those corny plays with those silly songs.
Thank you for letting us play outside and in the woods out back until sunset and play kickball and baseball in the front yard…and not getting too mad when the ball went through the living room window. Thank you for all of those good Sunday dinners and keeping the yard mowed and washing a lot of pretty dirty laundry. Thank you for giving up things you needed for things we wanted. Thank you for the trips to McDonald’s and the rare occasions when we actually got to eat at the Picadilly. (Wow!)
Thank you for letting us ride our bikes up and down the road and playing video games with us. Thank you for teaching us that God and family were more important and any job or hobby. Thank you for allowing us to climb on top of the piano, to the tops of trees, and on top of Papa’s barn without freaking out about us breaking a limb – even when we jumped off.
Thak you for standing by us when you probably knew our decisions weren’t the best ones and still standing by us when you realized you were right…but you didn’t want to be. Thank you for comfort in times of death, divorce, heartache, lost jobs, bad grades, shattered dreams. Thank you for realizing that sometimes we have to jump from those high places to see what it’s like to fly. And for being there to pick up the pieces when the flight was over.
Thank you for knowing how to let us be children and how to let us grow up all at the same time.
Thank you for letting us play in the rain.
Edie Rowland Emory, May 2003
I have to admit, I don’t let my son run outside in the rain. On the contrary, when he tries, I call him down as if he were running out into traffic or something. And obviously, when there is the danger of a lightning strike, it is not a good idea. But why don’t I let him play out in the rain sometimes? Some of my fondest memories as a child are doing the things that just don’t seem to make sense.
So I’m promising him and myself that I will let him play in the rain every once in a while.
And I’m promising some other things as well…
I will say “yes” whenever possible (even if it may be inconvenient for me).
I will let him build a fort in the living room even after I just cleaned it.
I will push bedtime back a little on a Friday night so he can watch a movie and eat popcorn with Mommy and Daddy.
I will let him pick out his own clothes sometimes, even when they don’t match.
I will let him “help” even when it means it will take me longer to accomplish.
I will let him open just one gift on Christmas Eve.
I will show interest in his interests.
I will drop my work and other obligations when possible to play a game with him.
I will give him grace even when it may be undeserved.
Most of all, I will always be here for him.
He will always have a home and a safe harbor wherever I am.
My parents have given that to me. I will pass that along to my son.
And the next time it rains…we are going to have some fun.
Love in Christ,
This post is lovingly dedicated to my parents, Phil and Joan Rowland.