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Of stoicism and dancing in the rain

by kenya-tribune

“There been times that I thought, I couldn’t last for long. But now, I think I’m able

To carry on, It’s been a long, A long time coming, but I know. A change gon’ come Oh yes, it will.”

Sam Cooke, “A Change Gon’ Come”

It’s been a long time coming but the rains are finally here, pounding parts of Nairobi with vengeance. And the earth is responding. The grass is turning green and plants are perking up. There must be something God puts in the rainwater.

No matter how often you water your potted plants or shamba with tap water, nothing beats the response of plant life to rainwater.

The first drizzle caught me by surprise as I took my morning run distracted by the music from my earphones. It was here! I wanted to laugh, cry and dance at the same time. “I wanna dance with somebody,” Whitney Houston’s sang from my selected playlist.

There was nobody to dance with, there in the rain, but there was no law against dancing alone. So, I did what I had once done as a child. A little jig in the rain, skipping and turning around with the rain drops blinding me momentarily. This too, I understood at that moment, was life. Everything changes.

The dry months may have fooled us into believing that the rain would never come. As the hot sun scorched everything on its path, leaving behind failed crops, weak and dying cattle, many of us gave in to despair. Was this the end or did it just feel like the end? Then the skies opened up, like they had never been closed, and our prayers were answered.

Consider this: life has seasons. When in one season, it is easy to believe that it will never end, whether it be a season of plenty or lack, hardship or triumph. Human beings, too, undergo changing seasons that include health and vitality or illness, youth or old age.

George Washington Carver remarked, “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.”

Wisdom demands then that we understand the personal season we are in and walk accordingly. Seasons of harvest and plenty are not just joyous ones, but times when we store for seasons of lack. Why? We understand that no season lasts forever.

There will be a time you are required to use your reserves of energy, vitality and finances. Seasons of hibernation should allow us to replenish and renew ourselves, while avoiding the temptation of sinking into despair.

Psychotherapist David Richo believes that a healthy way to approach life is to accept its impermanence. He writes in The Five Things We Cannot Change: And The Happiness We Find By Embracing Them, “The first given of life is that changes and endings are inevitable for any person, relationship, enthusiasm or thing … The changes are carefully timed alignments that make the universe endure and unfold.

This is ultimately a mystery since it is hard to know why it has to be this way. All we can observe is that life is committed to variety and new growth and that comes at the price of endings.” Regardless of what you are facing, life will always ebb and flow, end and begin.

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