I awoke to the sound of rain and wind. Immediately, my heart exhaled.
There’s a large sitting area on the 6th floor of our condo, which has an entire wall of floor to ceiling windows. The summer is over, and most of the residents have left, so the entire floor is deadly quiet. Sitting here, I am reminded how much I have always been awed and strangely comforted by the rain. Watching the rain bead and then all at once run down against the cold glass, feels like a graceful massage to my broken spirit. Life is strange, bewildering, beautiful and agonizing all the time, and usually all at once. But throughout my life, I can remember feeling exactly this way so many times before, while watching the lovely rain.
I’m 20 years old. Home from college on break from school. I’m in a parked car, entangling myself with a young, wild, reckless, tortured Patrick outside of his parent’s house. In this scene, we are a sort of emotionally macabre Romeo and Juliet, stealing away to be together despite the disapproval of others. (How terribly adolescent of us). There was something about him that made me feel so alive, so awake, so electric. Such a hunger. Such a connection. Such a desperation in both of us. It was midnight. It was glorious. It was heartbreaking. And it was raining.
He was entangling himself with a young, open, trusting, painfully sensitive girl. So overwhelmed by her own emotions, and by what she absorbed from the world, that she could barley breathe it hurt so much. They were both bleeding hearts, and that was where they met, and sought refuge in each other. I remember the sight of the rain beading on the windshield, which was illuminated against the blackness, by the glow of a burnt orange street-lamp. It was so beautiful, the rain that night.
Everything is different today than it was then. Everything is more complicated and confusing, exhausting and maddening than I had ever hoped it would be at 20 years old. And all of it still overwhelms my painfully sensitive heart, which foolishly has never learned to callous over. Everything except the rain. The rain can take me easily back to a thousand moments where it calmed me, comforted me, or awakened me to the beauty of life. It can take me back to that one moment in 2002, for instance, because it will always be there in my memory, gracing me with its beauty. Dancing down the window panes, like music reverberating off the walls of a glorious amphitheater.
These days people like to talk about silly things. Oxygen masks. Empty wells. Dry cups from which you cannot pour a single ounce of love, without first replenishing the love within. Indeed. Maybe so. At its best, it is not a new concept for me. But when you’re past the point of refilling or re-oxygenizing, when you’re to the point where you don’t know where you placed your mask, or stashed your cup, and when you’re too delirious to find your way to the water well…these words feel… nonsensical. They taste sour in your mouth, like fruit that went rotten. They lay like bullets at the back of your throat. There is no grace in a worn out, dime-a -dozen metaphor. At least, not to me.
But do you know where this is grace? Do you know where grace falls down around you, gently, or wildly but always with reassurance and resolution?
It’s not dark and gloomy. Its not an inconvenience. Its not there to remind us that sunny days will return. The rain can be a soothing balm to your weary heart, if you let it. It will build you a pillow fort of consolation and lay inside it with you.
This morning, the ocean below me tosses and turns, ravaged by wind. The sand blows hard and fast, and everything is monochrome as far as the eye can see. All the tumultuous, stirring up of the earth and sky, beat in unison with my heart, sending a message straight to the center of it. “Feel that?” it asks. “You’re still here. You’re alive.”
It all acts like an echo of the human heart, and I like to think that it comes to different areas of the earth, every day, as a gift for every person living there, that feels temporarily broken.
It’s as if the sky cries with you, sending tears from heaven to melt with yours. And to me…that is almost too beautiful to bear.
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