Blame it on the Rain

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If you have never crimped your hair nor worn Hammer Pants (aka parachute pants), then you also probably have no clue who or what is Milli-Vanilli.  I crimped my hair.  I even prayed for the “deluxe crimper”  that could singe my strands with both waves and fun shapes.  I did not simply wear Hammer Pants.  I wore WHITE Hammer Pants turning a fashion faux pas into a fashion crisis.  I know exactly who is Milli-Vanilli, and have fond memories of their short-lived fame.   

I jumped up and down cheering in front of the TV when they walked across the stage at the Grammys.  Days later, I sat in the hallway of my middle school devestated to learn that they were frauds.  Professional lip-singers with good hair, exposed at a concert when the tape quit playing and their lips kept moving.  

The words they mouthed on that stage, still silently tickle my lips on a regular basis.  

 Milli-Vanilli had one hit song: “Blame it on the Rain.”   That song shuffles into the playlist of my subconscious almost weekly.  Having a bad day?  Blame it on the rain that was fallin’, fallin’.  Life looking grim?  Blame it on the stars that shine at night.  Circumstances a bust?  Whatever you do, don’t put the blame on you.  Is it just not fair?  Blame it on the rain, yeah, yeah.  

This year, we Oregonians have had more to blame on the rain than usual.  April showers brought May downpours.  And Junuary replaced June as we broke a number of records including most rain ever in the first two days of June and the lowest high ever for June 15th.  One completely unsympathetic Newscaster even suggested we “cancel summer.”  He reasoned that the current weather pattern predicates a cold and rainy July and August.  

All this rain made the strawberries slow to ripen, the rivers quick to flood, and the natives particularly cranky.    Cranky and blamin’ it on the rain to be exact.  Some  say it’s the lack of vitamin D, while others cite the  ensuing darkness brought on by the clouds.  I theorize about squishy shoes and perpetual bad hair days.  Whatever the reason, all the jokes in the world about liquid sunshine could not lift the mood of the Northwest. 

This past week, summer finally arrived.  We hit a scorching 78 degrees; turning the strawberries red, stilling the rivers, and lifting the countenance of all who basked in the glory.  If rain took the blame, then sun now takes all the credit. 

There is a scripture that reads “the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike.”  I have misinterpreted this quote most of my life.  A true Oregonian, fully conscious of how depressing the rain can be, I assumed that God meant to say bad things happen to everyone.   

I read that passage the other day, and realized I had it wrong.  Jesus was speaking to a large crowd when He beseeched them to love everyone — both  friends and  enemies.  Why?  Because He gives sunlight to good and evil, rain to just and unjust.  He spoke to a culture reliant upon agriculture.  A people familiar with the need for both rain and sun.  Without rain the crops would not grow, without sun they would not ripen.  His example of loving all was to allow both rain to fall and sun to shine. 

Whether the literal liquid or the figurative sense of hard times, rain drips with the love of God.  Without rain, without difficulties there is no growth.  The warmth of the sun is God’s blanket — periods of joy where maturity developes.  

Both sun and rain, good times and bad are opportunities to experience and express God’s love.   If I allow either to dictate my mood, my attitude, my faith — then my Christianity is just lip-singing.  If I blame it on the rain, then when the music stops and the sun comes out my lips will move but no sound will follow.