It started as another rainy day in the Pacific Northwest. The rain scares me. A lot. Anytime a local finds out I’m gearing up for my first winter in rainyland, a variation of “I hope you survive” is inevitably coming my way. Whether its the well-meaning acquaintance wishing me luck in the coming months or the postal worker who informs me that I’ll probably want to end my misery within the next six months, because it will be so awful or the worship leader who rejoices that – for once – we didn’t have to battle rain to come to bible study. No matter what the derivative, the sucker punch hits me in the gut the same way: fear.
I come from a region where February might mean bitter cold or it might mean washing the car in swim suits. But, either way the weather goes, we have a gentle mix of sun, snow, and rain to enjoy during the winter months. Moving to the Pacific Northwest definitely means a change in climate — I knew that when I signed up for the gig — but that doesn’t mean I’m not afraid of the next six to eight months of rain and clouds and gray.
And when weather is the universally acceptable first conversation (and when most of my current conversations are “firsts”), my fears are rubbed in my face almost daily.
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
It’s becoming my mantra, that verse.
I repeat it to myself when I wake up and see another cloudy day.
I repeat it to myself when I turn on the windshield wipers again.
I repeat it to myself when yet another well-meaning individual warns me of the coming gloom.
I repeat it to myself when the darkness closes in and all I see is gray.
God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.”
He just hasn’t.
And I’m going to refuse to live in fear. Even when it seems natural.
If I’m going to thrive in this new normal, I’m going to speak truth to myself — always.
When I see the sun? I take a picture.
When I see a patch of blue sky (no matter how small)? I rejoice.
When I go grocery shopping in the rain? I try to remember it could be worse: I could be a construction worker.
When I use my rain boots? I focus on my uber-cuteness and cozy-dry-toes-ness.
When I enjoy the cozy of a tea-and-candle-and-movie afternoon? I mark it down to remember when it gets gloomy again.
And when given the opportunity to either stay at home on a rainy Saturday or go hiking to a suspension bridge? I’m going hiking. (Even if it means squeezing between trees with a huge umbrella. Even if it means desperately trying to keep a camera dry along the way. Even if it means cold fingers and wet shoulders. And especially if it means getting a hot chocolate for the drive home.)
The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge at Lynn Canyon Park is a prime example of why the Pacific Northwest really is a beautiful place and well worth visiting/living/transplanting. (And its proof that PNW isn’t *always* gray – even if I can’t always remember the un-grayness: check out all those evergreens!) I’ve officially added this oasis to my list of “Highly Suggested Visitor Activities” for when friends and family come for a visit. Not only is it free (you can’t beat that!), its beautiful, its easily accessible from downtown Vancouver, and its ridiculously gorgeous.
So, friends: when are you coming?