I came across this quote some years ago on a calendar I used to keep on my desk when I taught in Cogan Primary School. It has stuck in my brain through all that time. It’s an intriguing thought. On the surface I guess it means that if every day has sunshine and no rain, eventually nothing will grow; you need rainy days to go with the sunny days to enable growth to take place.
In a way life is just like that!
If things always go smoothly and we never experience pain or heartache, then our lives become dry and barren. We cannot appreciate the good days in our lives, if we never go through those tough times. While we may hate them as we go through them, but when they are replaced by the happy times in our lives, we are able then to appreciate the good days because of the bad days.
It is told that once Elgar, the great musician, was listening to a young girl singing. She had a beautiful voice and a well-nigh faultless technique, but she just missed greatness. “She will be great”, said Elgar, when something happens to break her heart.” There are things which only sorrow can teach.
It has been said said that sorrow is the source of the great discoveries in life. It is in sorrow that you discover the things that matter, and the things that do not matter. It is in sorrow that you discover the meaning of friendship and the meaning of love. It is in sorrow that you discover whether your faith is a merely superficial ornament of life or the essential foundation on which your whole life depends.
The sorrowful times in my life have not been many, but the tough days we had, were hard.
Among the most difficult of times was when Boo lost her beloved dad when she was nineteen. He went to work one morning and never came home. He had a stroke at his desk and was rushed to hospital where he sadly passed away. Boo never had the chance to say goodbye. She was at the age when she needed him more than ever. He was a wonderful man in every sense of the word but he died too young. He never lived to see any of his children get married, never saw his grandchildren at play or his great grandchildren smile.
Jean still weeps often.
We will never forget the miscarriage Boo suffered in our early married life, we were young and inexperienced and it hit us so badly. It took us so long to get over it. They were dark days. There were other days when we barely had enough money to live on and making ends meet was a constant battle.
I still struggle with the loss of my both my parents within a few months of each other; although we always knew that once one had died the other would follow soon. They were remarkable people, who just lived for each other. My dad passed away while we were on holiday three thousand miles away and the fact that I never got to say goodbye to him hurts so much. The journey home was a difficult one in so many ways. A few months later my mum left her house one day to come on holiday with us, was taken ill in the car and she never returned to the home she loved. She died quietly in my arms in hospital.
In more recent times, the pain of seeing our daughter and son in law struggle with infertility was tangible and we questioned God as to why he would allow this to happen.
The sometimes long journey through these ‘rainy days’ has helped shape us into the people we are today. We can enjoy our happy days because of those sad days.
It is in sorrow that a man discovers God. It’s been said, “When you come to the bottom, you find God.”
There is a deep sense in which it is literally true, that sorrow has its own unique blessedness to give.
As you struggle with sorrow in your life, always remember that after the rain has stopped the sun will come out….
Perpetual sunshine produces a desert.