Tuesday, November 27, 2007
What to do when it rains
First, some sad news: Charlotte died. Well, maybe not died...but her web and all her carefully encased food was swept away in the last storm! It was sad to see her go, as she really did a good job keeping the insects away from our door. When we first moved in, it was almost impossible to come home at night, as the insects swarming around our door was an unbelievable gauntlet! But once Charlotte--and I suppose all the geckos we have in our home--came to visit, we were able to come home at any time without a problem. Perhaps she has some children around...
I took a walk to see what was north of Marpo heights--up the hill, closer to the airport. There are several back roads to explore, so I packed some rain gear and headed north. As it turned out, there wasn't too much to see until I got back to Marpo heights. I did see some horses--something new--and finally got a picture of a butterfly! I have been trying to get a picture of the many butterfly's around the island, but they are very quick, and won't let you get very close. But today, success! But it is just one of many different kinds I have seen.
Since Thanksgiving the weather has turned rainy again, and this week it looks to be rainy all week. Due to the storms, the tide has been very high, and the waves have been crashing into the beaches. It is beautiful to see, but tough to swim in!
All of this rainy weather poses the question: what does one do when it rains?
Life is rarely sunny--it is always a roller-coaster ride of unpredictable weather. So it makes one ponder the downside of life: what does one do when bad weather--trials--come upon us? The scriptures are full of inspiration concerning the ultimate outcome of life--that if we are good to each other, everything will be all right; and even though that can give us comfort to endure the trials of life, it doesn't give us specific answers to what we are to do during those times of stress.
I believe that a large part of the reason people find themselves lost and without hope during times of trial is because of fear: fear that the 'worst' will happen, fear that the trial will never end; or perhaps fear of the unknown: not knowing what will happen next. Whenever it rains on my parade, I always remember an event that occurred in my family that has turned into a kind of family 'parable':
When my family moved to Utah in the early 90s, we decided to build our dream home. Part of that project was to build a swimming pool. When we lived in Connecticut in the 80s, Jeremiah had found a small, used, above-ground pool in the Nickel Ads. We bought the pool frame and purchased a new pool liner, and soon had a fun shallow pool for the children to play in. Since that time, we have always tried to have a pool (or sometimes a lake or a river or a creek) to use as a family. When building our new home in Utah it seemed imperative to build a pool.
Once again we found a used above-ground pool in the paper that we purchased, and bought a new liner for it. Since it was a larger pool, we had someone else erect the pool for us. They dug a hole in the ground so that the pool would be half buried in the ground (this was so that, once a deck was placed around the pool, it would look like it was an in-ground pool), erected the frame, installed the liner, and slowly fill the pool to ensure there would be no wrinkles in the liner. After everything was done, a fence would be built around the pool (this was also a code requirement from the city and county). Seemed easy enough...little did we know!
As soon as we began digging the hole, the word got around the neighborhood that we were putting in a swimming pool. One neighbor that lived just to the south of us had three very small children, and became absolutely petrified with fear: she was convinced that her children would meet their fate by drowning in our pool! As a result of her fear, she began to harass us.
On a regular basis we began to have visits from various city and county government employees: the police, the firemen, the building inspector, etc. Over and over again they would drive to our home to 'inspect' our pool, as a result of a frantic call from our neighbor. We were given hand-outs as to each and every regulation concerning swimming pools, talked to, preached to, threatened, and finally even began to receive sympathy from those who had to return again and again as a result of our neighbors worried calls.
The issue of greatest importance was the fence around the pool: how high would it be, how many entrances would there be, how would we prevent her children from getting into the pool? Our neighbors concern was such that she came over to our home and demanded that we install the fence before we built the pool. Even though we explained that, due to the equipment and material needed to dig the hole and build the pool frame, it would be impossible to build the fence first, this did not deter her! And when the frame was built, the liner in, and water was finally being put into the pool, her anxiety increased even more!
All this time she kept her children locked in her home. I have no doubt that, should her fear continue, she would keep her children locked inside the rest of their lives! As promised, as soon as the pool was finished, we quickly built a tall fence surrounding the pool, and even put in a 'hidden' gate that could not be seen from the outside, so that it looked as though there was no entrance into the pool area. This finally gave our neighbor some comfort, but she still lived in fear.
As our family talked about her predicament--how to keep her children safe--we recognized that we had the very same problem! Terri and I had five children. Any one of those children could drown in the pools we had at our homes. What a problem! What an unsolvable conundrum! Or was it? The solution was really so very easy: we simply taught our children how to swim!
Once we taught our children how to swim, we never had to worry about them again, unlike our neighbor. She was keeping her children locked in her home to 'protect' them from harm. But didn't she realize that we were not the only home that had a pool? What about their other friends and neighbors? What about the lakes, rivers, and streams that flowed around the valley? Would she really be able to protect her children from everything? Of course not! It was unreasonable to assume that any parent could keep their children save from every danger in life. So what was the solution? For far to many parents, like our neighbor, the solution was to put up fences. Out of fear, and to protect their children, they keep their children at home, or under constant watch, smothering them with 'protection'.
But the real solution is so simple. Don't build fences, teach your children how to swim! Once children are taught how to deal with the dangers of life, they no longer need to be protected. Instead of being held captive, they are set free. Instead of living in fear, they move out into society to experience life to its fullest!
So what do I do when it rains? Do I lock myself at home? No, hard as it is to believe, I simply take an umbrella or take a raincoat. Life really isn't hard, it's rather simple, when you look at it in the right way.