When it Rains on Your Biggest Parade
Indian and Horse in a Wet Parade
The Wet Parade
Today marked the biggest parade of a beautiful Southwest Michigan, lakefront city summer events. Every August a Coast Guard festival wraps up the end of summer with festivities planned all week to honor the Coast Guard and their loyal service to the USA. Thousands of tourists come from everywhere to celebrate this festival and enjoy the big, Saturday parade and magnificent, evening firework's display on the waterfront. A carnival spans the downtown area of the quaint little town, filled with people and children eating cotton-candy, elephant ears, hot dogs and all the other vendor goodies.
A Tuesday night water ski show and street dance was cancelled and rescheduled for the next night due to rain this week, but that was not an option for the parade as entries come from all over the country. The rain was intermittent all morning before the noon parade and did not show any mercy for the big event. My family and I opted out of going for the almost two hour parade. There are about 15 of us and we remembered trying to brave a rainy Coast Guard parade years ago with rain ponchos and umbrellas, but caved when it went from trickles to a downpour and high winds. It is not easy running with toddlers in strollers along with wet blankets to our cars parked several blocks away, as we always park on the other side of the town's main highway and walk the long stretch to the downtown parade route.
The entourage of people walking to the parade is a parade in itself, as many of the local citizens and tourists also chose to walk from the other side of the highway. So, many die-hards took their umbrellas, walked and stood in the rain to cheer on the wet clowns, drooping floats and other entries who did not pull out of the parade.
Rainy Parade Effects
The biggest parade of the summer season became a rainy one and yet, hundreds of people still showed up to support and encourage the traditional event. Some, like our family, opted out of standing in the rain for two hours. Neither one is the wrong thing to do, it's deciding what works for you when the rain falls on your big parade.
I have learned that life is much like that parade and some big events in life get sprinkles or torrents of rain. You plan for something to go a certain way and for the sun to keep shining. But, unexpected rain clouds show up in the sky threatening your "life" parade and you must now make a decision how you will handle that rain. Do you allow the rain to dampen your spirits, cloud up your day and ruin your outlook on life?
I've seen many hurting people who cancel going to a rainy parade and decide that the any more parades will get rained on, too. Sometimes you just need to cancel your attendance at the rainy parade and you accept the fact that you cannot stop the rain. Examples in life are divorce, losing a home, health problems, accidents, grown children moving away, family disputes or splits, friends betray you, close friends die, beloved pets die and loved ones get sick or pass away. This is the kind of rain that can really downpour at times and often brings major discouragement and depression with it.
I like this beautiful quote: "And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow."
The Rainbow Always Comes Again
You Can Make it Through the Rain
Overcome the Rains of Life with Help from Above
How I Cope with Rain on my Parade
I have experienced much rain on big, medium and small life parades over my 56 years on this earth. Many of the life storms I mentioned earlier come from my own journey in life. My childhood was fairly sunny skies with parades that seemed to last forever at times. The later years were much more rain than sunshine. I actually enjoy a good storm at times and have come to know that the rain eventually stops, the air is renewed and the rainbow is promise from above. As a child of God, He will never give us more than we can bear. I live by this belief system as much as I can find the strength to do.
"It's Not What Happens to You in Life, it's How You Respond to it."
Here are the ways I try to handle the unexpected rains that come and will eventually come again. I am not always quick to do these, but find myself getting quicker at it each time the rain comes.
- Get Under the Umbrella of God and Cry Out to Him for Help. Psalm 91 is my favorite chapter of the shelter and protection of the Lord.
- Expect the Unexpected Rain. Ecclesiastes 3 says there is a time for everything and that includes the rain and the sunshine.
- Let Go of Preconceived Ideas About How Your Life Should Go. Disappointment hits harder when you have the attitude of "why me?" Why not? God promised to be with His own at all times, through every storm and fire. Isaiah 43:2~When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
- Look Up and Lift Up Your Head and Hands. This really works and when you do it at the hardest times, the biggest lift will come from doing it. I say this from my own experience of walking deep valleys and dark nights of my soul. Praise Him anyway. Isaiah 61:3~to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
- Trust in the Promise that You Will be Comforted, the Sun will Shine on Your Parade and the Rainbow will Come Again when You Live for Him. Matthew 5:4~Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Psalm 84:11~For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.
- Walk On. Don't stay away from all of the next parades in life, walk on and use your past experience to know that "this too, shall pass." Someday, you will live with God Himself and He will wipe away all tears from His children's eyes. Revelation 21:3-4~I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, "Look, God's home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever."
A Promise for Your Life Parades
How About You?
Have You Seen the Sun and Rainbows after it Rained on Your Parade?
Sunshine Again and Fireworks!
Oh, by the way, the sun came out a couple of hours after the rainy parade and the festival resumed again. People brought out their picnic supplies, aromas of burgers and hot dogs grilling filled the air and music could be heard all over the city.
My family and I had our own picnic and made it to the spectacular fireworks to enjoy together and embrace the memories of precious family gatherings. The rain made us more thankful.