If I had a blog, today I would write about the question: “Why not me?”
Yesterday afternoon I was wakened from my nap by the most glorious sound: Thunder rumbling through our valley. I looked out the window and the west was dark, a gusty wind pushing white scud clouds ahead of the storm. Then came the rain: A “real gully-washer” as my Grandmother Ruby would say. It rained for over an hour, giving us an inch of life-restoring water. Rain came again in the night, giving us another inch which brought our weekly total up to three inches. I have been on a rain-high all morning, reveling in the muddy barn lot, the wet dog prints on my kitchen floor, and the diamond drops that fell on me when the wind moved through the trees. It is a good day to be alive.
I don’t know why the rain chose us; why the little storm cells conspired to build over our county and not some other. I know for sure it isn’t because I made some big paradigm shift or overcame a spiritual barrier because I was as imperfect yesterday as I was any day during our drought. I suppose it is arrogant of me to think anything I do can influence the weather, but it seems to be human nature. We want someone to blame for disasters and someone to reward for their surcease. That would mean there is a control mechanism within our grasp, a way we can protect ourselves from the things that threaten us most, but I’m afraid we must accept the hard truth that there are things we do not understand and there are things over which we do not have control.
When my granddad Atkinson was dying of cancer, Nannah told me a story that has shaped my life ever since: When d was diagnosed with cancer in his late 50’s, Nannah responded as most of us would, by asking God, “Why him? Why us? Why me?” Then one day, another thought came: “Why not me?” Why were Tom and Zelle Atkinson more deserving of good things than anyone else? It changed the way Nannah and d faced the hard days ahead and it has changed the way I look at life too. From little things like, “Why did the rain pass us by?” to the big things like, “Why did I have a brain tumor?” I have tried to turn it around and ask why I was any more deserving of relief than the other good people in the world. It’s a hard philosophy to live and, often as not, I fall into the clutches of self-pity before Nannah’s wisdom helps me put things into perspective.
I am overjoyed that we got the rain. It was a gift to us, to our animals, to the land we love, but it was truly a gift; a bit of serendipity given to us by The Universe for reasons we cannot, and perhaps are not meant to, understand. Life isn’t all about us as individuals. We are part of something much greater: The living being that is the Earth. If she does not survive, neither will we, and sometimes we must do without so a need of a higher order can be met. I will give thanks for the rain, but I will not take credit for it now or chasten myself should the drought return. When good times come, I will marvel and ask, “Why me?” When life is hard I will muster the courage to say, “Why not me?” And whatever happens I will have faith in the wisdom of The Universe, in Nannah, and in me.