This morning, the sound of rain outside the window arrested my attention. Wind rushed over me and the tiny hairs on my arm swayed. It was a cool breeze, the kind that rustles your hair, but doesn’t toss it into your eyes as quick as you push it back. The air smelled of rain. I noticed the sky, too: it seemed divided. On one side, swollen clouds were dark blue, almost black, and others were gray. The other side of the sky had patches of light shining through and, while there were some clouds, they weren’t as dark or moody. There really wasn’t a clear line where the dark clouds ended and the lightness began; instead, the dark seemed to simply fade into a lighter shade of blue. I was so captured by this that I stared at it for a long moment, snagged a photo. In Florida, it’s not very rare: it can be raining cats and dogs where I’m at, but I can look to the side and see it’s bright as sunshine two minutes from me. It isn’t unusual. Still, for whatever reason, today, the sky, and the rain, held me as I couldn’t help but think: there’s sunshine and rain in every day. That thought, the one that sounds so cliché and corny, made me think o fa million examples in my life and, stretching across every memory was a thin tightrope.
As thin as a flimsy piece of paper, the tightrope felt like a lifeline; my way to traverse from a dangerous thunderstorm to a peaceful haven. The journey from one to the other felt uncertain, wobbly, and reminded me of all the times where I was sure a gust of wind would knock me off into the endless, barren canyon below. Sometimes it wasn’t a gust of wind that threatened me but my own ineptitude: I might have lost focus, taken my eyes away from the promise of tomorrow, been distracted by a star in the sky, the sight of an eagle, or I might have even looked over my shoulder at the storm chasing me. Between the deepest parts of the night, when I’d wake yet again from a nightmare that felt more real than anything I could touch and the ray of light finally warming my face, the moments of sadness, of confusion, of anxiety, of doubt were plenty. Sometimes enough to break my heart, and almost break me. In the end, though, those hard seconds, moments, days were not enough to defeat me. Because, in the end, the promise of tomorrow was the promise of you.
Tiny hands, tiny fingers wrapping around mine, were strong enough to keep me focused on the future instead of the past. A tiny heart full of wonder, unhindered by shame, a heart that saw the world as a stage on which she could shine, a heart that believed in the impossible inspired me to believe the same. The innocence of you made me remember that of myself once upon a time; the healing being your mother brought me is too massive for me to ever convey in words. But getting to the other side of that canyon, moving away from the thunderstorm, would have been so much harder, and taken so much longer, without you.
Between Picasso Days where I’d tape butcher paper to the walls and let you paint everything in sight, including our bodies, to amazing adventures across the seas to lullabies sang every night to the Chatter Chats that are made more poignant with the passing of every year, our home, our safe, loving home, has had its share of heartache. Those thunderstorms chased us, and nearly caught us, more times than we want to remember; sometimes, lightning bolts grazed us in vicious attacks meant to disenchant and cripple us. We are stronger together, though, than anything this world has for us and, with a whole lot of prayer and, by holding hands, we put one foot in front of another on that wobbly tightrope, until we grew closer and closer to the promise of tomorrow.
Today is tomorrow.
The sun falls on our full face now and the skies have cleared of any gray clouds. Night still falls, but it twinkles with stars bright enough to guide us. Between the rising and setting of the sun lay the dreams you’ve nurtured and shared with me, dreams of passion, adventure, travel, justice and meaning. These dreams are the Northern lights of your life, and helping you see the dancing colors will be my life’s greatest joy. Molding a dream to reality will likely make the tightrope wobble, the storm start again in earnest, and it may feel easier to watch the dream sail away.
My promise to you is this: I will be the anchor, reminding you that the dream is your tomorrow, and tomorrow will come. It’s scary, being chased by the thunderstorm, by the hurricane, and it’s tempting to look back at how far you’ve traveled, how long you’ve hoped, how much you’ve sacrificed and feel as though you can’t take anymore. This is when the tightrope wobbles the worst, but you avoid slipping, and keep walking instead, that the colors of the rainbow forming become more vibrant. When your foot touches ground in tomorrow, when the skies clear and you finally see the kaleidoscope of color stretching across the sky, you’ll notice that the adversity of the journey will evolve from being the scary thunderstorm chasing you to the hope that got you through. And, therein, lies the secret of the tightrope: fear isn’t always a defeating emotion. For the dreamer, fear is the start of creativity, of motivation, of the promise of what could be, of fire-defining, life-sustaining hope.
I cannot wait to dance with you in the rain.