My father, forever the optimist, has always been a firm believer in the adage, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Having heard it enough times as a child, I began to understand the worth in these words. Now, as an adult, I do my best to live my life in much the same way. Things always seem to work out better when I face the world with a positive attitude.
Most of the time anyways.
I have to admit that I didn’t taste anything but the sour tang of disappointment when I woke up a couple of weeks ago to a downpour. Normally, I don’t mind a little precipitation in the morning. I actually find the pitter patter of raindrops to be quite relaxing. However, on that particular morning we were not at home. We were on the island of Koh Chang about to enjoy the first day of our vacation. Or so we had thought.
Upon hearing the rainfall, I rolled over to Rachel and let out a groan of displeasure. I then reached for my smart phone and began to check the long range weather forecast for that area of Thailand. As soon as I did, the foul tasting bitterness that had filled my mouth slipped heavily into my gut. Grey skies, mild rain, thundershowers and nothing but for the next ten days at least. My disappointment only grew as I checked a number of other weather websites. They were all the same. Not one would give me the forecast to which I had been looking forward for so long. It soon became apparent that any lemonade I would taste would have to be drunk from underneath an umbrella.
And so, I did what any fool in that situation would do. I put down my Samsung, stepped out onto our balcony and defiantly thrust my finger into the sky. I poked at the dark clouds looming overhead and willed the rain to stop. I would not allow the holiday that I had waited so long to enjoy to be washed away in a torrent of wind and rain. I would see the sun.
And I did.
By mid-afternoon that day, the rain had subsided and Siaya and I were swimming in the ocean. The next morning, we woke up to the beauty of a cloudless sky. That night, I went to sleep satisfied with a tender redness on my skin that came from a full day in the sun. And for the rest of our holiday, save the last day, we enjoyed the beauty of Thailand ‘sans’ precipitation. (During the times that we were out anyways.) It seemed as though my finger worked. I, at least, take it on faith that it did
I remember the first time that I got it into my head that I had the power to stop the rain. It was in Bali during the summer of 1999. My brother and I had bought our parents tickets to the island as an anniversary present and then met them there for a family vacation. As I was laying out by the pool on our last day, I noticed a cluster of menacing rain clouds rolling in. For some reason (I think I had seen my father do it before.), I pointed my finger at the clouds and wished them away. I don’t know if it was a freak of nature, a spirit in the sky or my will, but within ten minutes the clouds had all but disappeared. I was blessed with a couple extra hours of sunshine. That was all it took for me to believe in the power of my finger. That was enough to give me faith.
Now, every time there is a chance of bad weather ruining our plans for a party, outing or adventure, I jab my index finger into the sky and attempt to work my magic. If you ask me, I will tell you that it works eighty to ninety percent of the time. I will tell you with some conviction that I have the power to stop the rain. Or at least delay the onslaught of precipitation for a time. Am I crazy? Probably. Just a little. Peculiar at the very least. But I am ok with that. With the present state of the world around us, I believe that having faith in anything at all is a good thing. It’s needed.
Any time I turn on a newscast or read a news-report I am drowned with stories of political corruption, deception and self-serving ambition. It is difficult for me to have faith in our governments.
The same stations and reporters that provide me with those stories also try to convince me that it is important to be aware of how JAY Z now spells his name or that the Queen has just visited the baby prince. It is difficult for me to have faith in our media.
I read about teachers being mistreated, students being mislead, and an entire system being mislabeled. It is difficult for me to have faith in our so-called education.
Criminals are let go while victims are abused. Truth, justice equality have been replaced by dishonesty, power and greed. It is difficult for me to have faith in the law.
I read of, bees, bats and birds dying, polar ices melting and waters rising. It is difficult for me to have faith in our future.
The world, it seems to me, is full of lemons and not enough sugar. I need a little faith in something to sweeten my drink. And so, I cling to whatever beliefs I have no matter how far fetched they may seem. After all, if something as wildly unbelievable as the ability to stop the rain could be true then maybe (just maybe) everything else in which I have lost faith has the potential to get better.
Faith, by George Michael, brings me back to grade thirteen, a road trip to North Bay, and the woman who drove me there. Throughout our long friendship, we have shared in a number of rather unique experiences that I know will keep us bonded for life. I hate to be a broken record (Something else that was taught to me by my father!) but there is nothing more reassuring than the certainty of a true friend. It is a wonderful thing to know that someone will always have my back no matter what. I can only hope that my friend has the same amount of faith in me.
Faith is the belief in something without proof. Although it is often a step made blind, it provides us with the confidence and light to make the journey possible. As Rachel, Siaya and I get ready to welcome the newest member of our family, I force myself to keep my faith and belief that things will continue to work out for the best. However, if they don’t, the next time it I see the dark clouds rolling in, I will just lay off of my finger a little and allow the cool rain to water down the sour taste of lemons.
Faith youtube link