The weather forecast was right–it predicted rain for today and when I got up, it was raining, something that is putting a bit of a down spin on my day. Now, I really don’t have any plans for being outside today. I mowed the lawn earlier in the week based on the long range forecast that predicted rain for today. I have a bunch of things to do that require me to be inside various buildings or the car for most of the day.
About the only ways the rain today affects me are I probably won’t go for a walk if it is raining hard but since the majority of my exercise is accomplished on the exercise bike, that isn’t a big issue. But nonetheless, the dark and drippy day is making me feel a bit down–not depressed and nothing serious but just a bit down, a different feeling than I have when the sun is shining.
I am probably not alone in my reaction to the weather today and by itself, that really isn’t all that much to blog about. But when I had been up for a bit and realized my emotional response to the rain, I realized that there have been times in my life when the same kind of day produced a very different emotional response.
During the times when we have lived in Kenya, rain produced a very different reaction. Most of Kenya is dependent on rain for its water supply. There isn’t a lot on the way of water infrastructure and what there is depends on rain. At times, our water supply was two 1000 gallon water tanks filled by the rainwater off the roof of our house. During the long six month dry season when those tanks were empty, our water supply consisted of two five gallon jerry cans that went everywhere the car went that there was a chance of getting some water.
The last time, we lived in a town that had a municipal water system. A couple of times a week, the town turned our water on and the 500 liter tank in the attic filled with enough water to keep us going until the next time the water was turned on. This depended on how many breaks there were in the water line, how careful we were with our water, and how full the rain-filled town reservoir was. During the long dry season the twice a week water supply dwindled and stopped and our water supply consisted of the two buckets I carried up three flights of stairs from the backup reservoir in the parking lot.
So, when we are in Kenya, waking up to a rainy day produced a feeling of pleasure and a sense that this was going to be a good day. Rain in Kenya produced the kind of emotional uplift for everyone that a bright, warm sunny day does here in rural Nova Scotia.
This suggests many things to me, among which is the deep reality that we human beings are much more adaptable and flexible that we often give ourselves credit for. And if we are more flexible and adaptable that we think, that means that we probably don’t need to get as bent out of shape about things as we sometimes do. The problem isn’t really the external events or circumstances but the way I am choosing to react to them. Am I looking at the rain as a Nova Scotian or a Kenyan?
And because I am a Christian, that suggests to me that I need to work at making sure that my Christian faith plays a big part in how I look at life and its realities and in how I respond to life. Rather than seeing my faith as an add on that only kicks in when I am in worship or somewhere where being a Christian is required, I need to work at placing my faith in the centre of my response to life.
Do I view the stranger in town from a basically mono-cultural Nova Scotian, a multi-cultural Kenyan or a supra-cultural Christian viewpoint? My response to the stranger varies depending on which set of cultural norms I bring to the front. I would like to say that my Christian norms trump all the others but I try to be honest here. Like my response to the rain today, I need to work more on what I respond with.
May the peace of God be with you.