Life's happenings are not unlike our crazy weather. Sometimes you have warning. You know its coming so you hunker down in your prepared shelter. Others are like the earthquakes I grew up with. Out of nowhere, your whole foundation shakes moving things around sometimes causing damage that can range from a few broken items to complete disaster, even loss of life. On the news you hear stories of brides whose weddings were changed dramatically due to some sort of catastrophe. Mine was one of those stories although it never made the news.
Three weeks before my wedding, my parents drove south to stay nearby and help with wedding preparations. (I was living in Southern California at the time.) The evening they arrived they received a phone call from my oldest brother. He had struggled with health issues for several months with no clear answers. On this day, his Dr. was out of the office and the Dr. filling in was able to find something that was caught by a simple blood test. He had Acute myeloid leukemia (AML). That was a Friday. He flew from his small area to UCLA medical center near us on Sunday. In the early hours of Tuesday morning his spleen ruptured and they were unable to save him.
Upon hearing the news from my Dad, my first thought is that I would postpone the wedding. My brother had made it clear to my parents that under no circumstances were we to cancel the wedding. So amidst memorials, burials and traveling to Colorado, there were still tux fittings, dress alterations and flowers to arrange. On that day, as we were taking photos, the photographer announced that as soon as he took the family photo he would be taking the sibling pose. I turned to my mother and gasped "They aren't all here!" She graciously took the photographer aside and he took a moment to "change film", giving us a moment to regain composure and move forward.
I know for a fact there were a few family members who thought that proceeding with the wedding was completely inappropriate. For me it was my chance to move through the storm in the arms of a loving God. To have the grace of God pouring such joy into my life at the same time as the deepest sorrow I had ever known was to experience His hand on my life in a way I could have never forseen.
That is the main reason I love clouds. They bring interest and texture against a clear sky. The fluffy clouds bring whimsy and wonder while the dark clouds and angry sky tell me that everything is going to smell fresh and clean when the storm passes. We have learned that we don't need to wait for the storms to pass to experience joy.
Recently the Coffee Guy bought me a small sign to put with our family photos. It says "Life isn't about waiting for storms to pass, its about learning to dance in the rain." I really like dancing.