*I trust you’ll understand the reference to an American musical without my havin’ to name the play.
Maybe just a few of you.
That would be enough.
Today was good. Tough, full of work, but good. Wifey and I decided to make our rental house a little more home-y. Forget that I’ve never needed to hang things on plaster walls (wall anchors and special masonry drill, in case you’re interested). Forget that we have a 3-year-old daughter and an anxious border collie that both hated the loud noises coming from the drill. Forget that while putting our bed frame back together after years of box springs on the floor, I smashed my finger between two heavy pieces of steel. Forget that we were working around the mess me made as we worked. Forget all that. We were determined to make our house our home.
We hung pictures, art, and a clock.
We installed curtains to erase the mini-blinds.
We put our bed back on its frame for the first time in almost three years.
At the end of the day, after the kiddo was sawing logs in her big-girl bed and the cousin-dog who had been our weekend-long guest was safely back home, we decided to get some Taco Bell.
That’s when the storm came through.
I was sitting in the drive-thru when I saw the first big flash of lightning and Wifey texted me that we were apparently getting a big storm, like… Soon.
It was mostly lightning and some scattered rain from what I could tell. No big deal.
I paid for my order, took the bag, and drove off into more lightning and rain. It almost seemed to have eased up.
As soon as I got onto my street, someone gave the order to turn on the RAIN.
“Of course. NOW it starts raining like this,” I said as I pulled into my driveway.
It has always been my experience in rainstorms that if I’m inside, it’s raining less than when I go outside. It has also been my experience that if I’m ready to make the transition from inside to out, that the rain will just build and build until I acknowledge my defeat and trudge out into the every-type-of-rain-they-is scene from Forrest Gump.
Tonight was no exception.
I turned off the car and grabbed the drinks and bag, and the rain came down harder. I opened the door and stepped out. The rain came down harder. I walked toward the house, and the rain came down even harder. I was regretting my decision not to wear a coat into the rainless night that had greeted me when I left the house earlier.
I was about halfway to the door when the rain shredded the paper bag in my right hand and threw all the food on the ground.
Much like the father in A Christmas Story, I wove a tapestry of obscenities that, for all we know, may still be hanging in the air over Lake Michigan. This persisted as I crouched to snatch the sabotaged sustenance, cradled it to my body like a mother protecting their child, and fished my keys out of my pocket to open the as-yet-locked side door of our house.
As soon as I was inside, I put the food and drinks down on the counter and witnessed the carnage of orange Taco Bell greasemeat all over my favorite white button-up. I now lamented my decision not to wear my nice, black coat.
Or I would have, if I hadn’t been so busy Hulking out.
I was so enraged in that moment that I literally ripped the front of my shirt open and heard buttons ricochet off the walls. I tore the shirt off, balled it up, and spat something about how the damn thing was ruined anyway before whipping it into the trash.
I had gone from “rain is sometimes inconvenient” to “SKYWATER HAS RUINED MY LIFE” in the span of maybe two minutes.
I got soaked, the bag ripped, the food got waterlogged, and my shirt got ruined; You could say things compounded.
My wife, who had been in the bedroom comforting our drill-hating border collie that also hates storms and had taken up emergency residence under our newly reformed bed, came out to see me soaked and shirtless and fuming. Naturally she asked if I was okay, and all I could do was stand there with the angry face I inherited from my mother and breathe heavily through my flaring nostrils.
This is an artist’s representation of what followed:
Best of wives and best of women.
In hindsight, I knew it was stupid to rage. But not in the moment. Oh, no. Never in the moment.
Fast-forward to a few hours later. I was back outside with the dogs. No rain. I looked up into the sky. All stars. No clouds.
Not a single cloud.
And I realized, “Well, that’s life.”
I had a beautiful, productive, fun- and love-filled day with my family, and then a short, scattered, and furious thunderstorm whirled in and hurled my world into disarray.
I got angry, destroyed one of my favorite shirts, and injected the memory of this awesome day with a childish tantrum that I can’t un-throw.
Life is filled with storms. Storms don’t last. Weather them with as much calm and care as you can, or you can lose things that matter to you.
And remember that the skies will be clear again.