Don’t tell me not to live
Just sit and putter
Life’s candy and the sun’s
A ball of butter
Don’t bring around a cloud
To rain on my parade...
In the 1960s musical and film “Funny Girl,” Fanny Brice (Barbra Streisand) sings this song as she decides to leave everything behind to follow the man she loves. She’s made her decision, set her intention, determined the rosy future that she sees ahead and she sings the song as a warning to any who might try to cast doubt on her choice.
As I write, I am preparing to travel to Newnan for the wedding of two very dear people. They have a beautiful outdoor wedding and reception planned on the banks of the 7-acre lake that graces their property. The couple is, ahem, older and are thrilled to have found each other. Months of preparation have gone into the event as they carefully planned a celebration fit for their extreme happiness, and the lovely outdoor setting was by far the most appropriate spot to gather family and friends.
As you read this, their fate has already been determined, but the forecast from where I currently sit is terrible, a flat 100% chance of rain for Saturday, the date of the blessed event. Who sent someone to rain on their parade?
I spoke with the bride early in the week after watching the rain continue to stubbornly park itself on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Under any other circumstances I would have been thrilled to see it. We’ve not had rain in weeks and desperately need some relief, but couldn’t we make arrangements for slightly different timing? Of course, we cannot, and the bride gracefully discussed the plans B and C that were in place to accommodate the less than perfect forecast.
But, she admitted, she was at that moment having a sad day about the change of outlook, getting it out of her system to make room for making lemonade out of lemons. I could tell that she was feeling a little guilty for feeling disappointment over something that matters not in the grand scheme of things. After all, they still have each other, they will still be happily married and they will still be surrounded by the people who love them no matter the environs in which it occurs. But, I think it is totally reasonable to mourn the loss of what you thought would happen, even if what ends up happening is perfectly fine. Don’t you agree?
John Lennon famously wrote that “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” A guy named Bob Bitchin less famously said, “The difference between an adventure and an ordeal is attitude.” Because I know the bride and groom well, I know for sure that they and the majority of the folks gathering to celebrate them will take a positive position on the matter of the weather, so I am not questioning their outlook at all. But considering their fate has made me pause to think about where I might be prone to cry over rain in my own life.
I tend to be a pretty optimistic person, but when things are going poorly even the greatest of Pollyannas can feel a little down. It is when we let unexpected twists get the best of us that we begin to get off track. One of my writing heroes, Erma Bombeck, humorously tackled the topic in her collection of essays titled “If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries What Am I Doing in the Pits?,” in which she laughingly describes the daily domestic dilemmas that the average housewife encounters. While not many of us are “average housewives” these days, the lessons ring true with all mishaps in life.
I can eventually find a rosy response to my own troublesome turns, but I am especially good at finding them for others. Isn’t unsolicited advice fun when you’re feeling frustrated? Sometimes you just need to cry out the disappointment of failed fantasies and no amount of cajoling or comfort can replace it. When the bride in question revealed her disappointment, it was easy for me to jump to the “It will all be fine” placations without allowing for the very real sense of loss that comes with things not going like the fairy tale she had planned to pull off.
In the end, all will be well, there is no question about it. I’m just glad my galoshes match my dress, and I know we are going to have a rousing celebration no matter what the weather brings. But it is good to remember that sometimes the loss of the little stuff is worth mourning, even if the big picture is the same.
I’ve never heard of Gilbert K. Chesterton, but he was a pretty smart guy who lived back at the turn of the 20th century who seems to have had a lot of optimistic things to say, including this gem, “And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.”
I’ll pack my galoshes and head to Newnan with hopes for more rainbows than rain to grace the occasion, and I’ll try my darndest to create those rainbows where I can. I’ll give a full report of the outcome when I post this piece on Facebook, but for now I will stop so I can cross my fingers and toes for a change in the forecast.