All I Needed Was the Rain

umbrella sketch
“When I consider how my light is spent,

Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent, which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent…”
-John Milton, “Sonnet On His Blindness” 

There’s an alluring summer storm brewing outside. The bellowing thunder is in good company with the “hard rain” that’s falling. There was a time not too long ago, when it rained with such insistence that the only explanation was that Utah’s lover was unfaithful  and all Utah could do to alleviate the pain was cry and cry. Or maybe its favorite dog died. At any rate, though I am aching for a little sunshine, it being JUNE and all, I am grateful that today, while the sky is sobbing, I have nowhere I need to be but right here in my space.

So I recently confessed to another that “Off and On” relationships have been the bane of my existence. In that context, I was referring to relationships with my lovahs. But it got me thinking. My life itself is one, undying, “Off and On” relationship. School and I are “on”, then we’re on a break. My spirituality is “on”, then it takes some time “off” for a little holiday. My ability to lead my own life, be the creator of my circumstances and not a creature of them, will be “on” and luminous. And then, a wrench is thrown in my spokes and all that autonomy shuts “off” like the flick of a switch. Does all this On-ning and Off-ing mean I am not a solidly rooted person?

How tragically disappointing.

Socrates said, “Be as you wish to seem.” I love the simplicity with which he implies that is to be achieved. Just “be”. Similarly, one of my favorite quotes is by Richard G. Scott. He says: “We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.” A little Socrates + a little R.G.S. = Be what I wish to seem by consistently being each day what I want to become. It sounds so easy, but I struggle. “In vain, I have struggled, and it will not do.” (I wish I were saying that in the same context as darling Darcy did, but it’s still fitting for the occasion, I think.) So how do I “be” what I’m trying to become? And who is it I am striving to become? I am fond of the parts of me that I know the very best. And it’s good to have that sort of appreciation for oneself, I think. It’s necessary for our happiness. When we can find subtle contentment with who we are, we find much greater success in finding and creating happiness outside ourselves. But there are quite a few unfamiliar fibers making up my whole, and I think they are to blame for my propensity for indulging in On-and-Off-Again relationships with myself. How to thwart this intrinsic epidemic?

In an attempt at answering the rhetorical, I ask myself:
What does it take to make a relationship work? Like I would even know… But if I venture to analyze what my past relationships have lacked in one way or another, the negative space might help elucidate a more precise formula for success. Lemme see…

{Genuine interest}

which leads to

{Time invested in the right pursuits}

which can often lead to

{Appreciation}

which lends itself to

 {Security}

which inevitably breeds

{Confidence}

which encourages

{Personal growth and development}

which ultimately develops
{Joy}

Hmmm.

I’ve figured it out. My lapse is in Step Two: Time invested in the right pursuits. The deplorable ways in which I spend my minutes… Oh Heaven help me! In my most treasured of books urges the aphorism: “Do not labor for that which cannot satisfy.”  And therein lies the secret ingredient in becoming what we wish to be. On that new-fangled infatuation I mentioned earlier, Pinterest, I read the following:

“Today,

What have I done for my mind?
My body?
My spirit?
My relationships?
My creativity?
My passions?”

Well mercy. That sounds like a perfect recipe for self-appropriation, if I don’t say so myself. Stare those questions square in the eye every day and NOT investing time in worthy pursuits seems kind of impossible. And in the spirit of Impossibility, let me remind you of that ever-so-delightful quote from Ms. Audrey herself:
“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, ‘I’m possible'” So there. And please forgive this erratic flow of thoughts but I have to interject an Audrey quote whenever I can. It’s my own personal form or Turret’s Syndrome.

Here’s how I want to be: happy, educated, insightful, well-read (and not just from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books), cultured, virtuous, a connoisseur of beauty in all its forms, open-minded, and humble. Here’s who I want to be: life-long learner, writer, wife, mother, loving sister and daughter, faithful disciple of Christ.

I wake up each morning hopeful for the day ahead of me. I know that each day granted me is another chance to work toward “becoming”. I don’t know why I struggle so feverishly and get so lazy in the building of my identity. But I am grateful for the moments of introspection that come on days like today, when the rain outside encourages me to turn inward and realize that attaining ourselves comes with carefully invested time in worthwhile pursuits. How lovely to, at the end of the day, be able to say to ourselves:

“For my mind, I read words uncharted until today.”
“For my body, I ran farther than I did yesterday.”
“For my spirit, I communed with my maker and carried a prayer in my heart.”
“For my relationships, I served.”
“For my creativity and passions, I wrote. And read. And wrote. And read. And wrote.”

A formula for a lovely day, indeed. No more missteps for Yours Truly.

Peace and Love.

*I found this sketch on Etsy. Unfortunately, it is no longer available, but you can view her other pieces here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MarshNelsonStudio?ref=unav_listing-r

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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