It's been a dreary past few days here in Karaganda. And between wishing I was on vacation with my family in Colorado, and ending my work at the public school I taught at four times week, my mood has borne an uncanny resemblance to the cloudy sky and the drizzly atmosphere. I have been cold and damp almost all week, both emotionally and, you know, literally.
After a day of struggling through a lesson and struggling through a bank transaction and struggling through a wet walk to the language center, in mix of my pity party I made an "at least" list. You know: at least I had remembered to wear socks, at least I was able to get past the language barrier at the bank, at least got to sit on the bus instead of stand, at least I had a fun lesson planned for my adult students, at least the lilacs had bloomed and were smelling great, at least, at least, at least.
As I walked I looked up at the sky. It's become a habit, because the sky is usually so beautiful here. Due to obscene amounts of pollution, the sunsets are a ridiculous technicolor display. And during the daytime usually all you can see is a deep, soft, cloud-less blue. But because of all this rain, when I looked up instead I saw blue-gray wall of clouds shielding any sunlight from view. The sky was a curious violet color and the texture of the clouds reminded me of a computer art program I had as a kid, how you could paint the sky in thick, puffy strokes.
I thought to myself, "Hm, the sky is actually quite beautiful like that." Unbidden, the thought popped into my head from Elsewhere, "I think so, too."
It reminds me of my favorite Switchfoot song, "Rain, another rainy day / Comes up from the ocean / Give herself away / She comes down easy / On rich and debt the same / And she gives herself away."
I want to pity myself. I want to wrap myself in my hoodie and sweatpants and watch Friends under the covers until I'm warm and toasty and feel medicated enough that I can finish this painful process of saying good-bye (for now?) to this city I love so much. I want license to withdraw, glum and moody, into the comforts of my two favorite vices: chocolate and television.
But that's dumb. That's so dumb. Why?
Because good things don't just happen.
And yet, somehow, good things happen to me every day.
It's no crime to be sad. It's normal. Maybe even good. Of course I should miss my family, and grieve leaving Karaganda, and repent of the stupid selfish decisions I indulge each day. And I ought to hurt for a world that is full of broken systems, and broken relationships, and broken people. But in the darkness a light shines. In the steady drip of unrelenting rain, there is still beauty. Grace still waters this broken place. Grace, those undeserved good things that happen every day. Grace, the hope that overpowers cynicism. Grace, the source of the joy that wipes out my self-pity and my lethargy. We don't deserve it, but it comes down everywhere and always.
Grace like rain.