Rain … what to do now?

Published 3:47 am Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What to do on a rainy afternoon? What to do when it comes too soon? What to do when you cannot play? Save the outside fun for another day. Get a good book and curl up to read it. Or give yourself a pep talk so that you can believe it. Bake a cake, or watch TV. Learn to play an instrument for you and me.

Since I am a word person, I make lists. I have been making lists for as long as I can remember, and there is something immensely satisfying about checking something off that illustrious list. Every mark of the pen makes my heart well up within my chest at the accomplishment.

In the beginning, I really didn’t have many list-making supplies accessible, so anything would suffice. I have written lists on grocery store receipts, grocery bags, and even toilet paper. I wouldn’t encourage one to use toilet paper for this particular activity because even the three-ply tears readily and isn’t easily stored.

On rainy afternoons, I sometimes look back at my journals. I literally have shelves full of them and many of the pages are filled with the happenings of the day, prayers, hopes, dreams, and lists. It encourages and challenges me to be able to look back and see what I have accomplished, prayers that have been answered, and things that I’m either putting off or am in the process of completing. This activity often jump-starts the very real work and determination that is an integral part of any creative process.

By creative process, I mean much more than the writing that brings me so much joy or the artistic endeavors that my daughter in love, Cherrie, brings almost magically into existence. Mending a damaged relationship, strengthening a good one, reaching out to a neighbor, or starting or joining a new club are all examples of creativity. I’ve learned through the years that even our very thoughts are packed with either creative or destructive power.

And the awesome thing is that we, humans, choose if we want to think on, plan for, or get involved in things that create or things that destroy. I don’t pour over my lists and journals in the hopes of finding something destructive to get into or think about, but sadly some do. How do people get stuck in destructive patterns? This is a question that theologians, counselors, parents, and friends have many times wrestled with, and I know there are many ideas on the matter.

The answer for me is to spend my rainy afternoons filling my mind with positivity and hope for the future. I look back and see some things that I felt were almost hopeless which have turned totally around. To remember those days when I wanted to give up, but chose not to, and see the almost unprecedented turn around, sometimes years later, gives me hope. Some things I’ve mused about and jotted down over the years I’m still musing about and jotting down, but things can change and do change every day.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.