Weather is an interesting phenomenon. We live in it. We complain about it. We can’t control it. We want so much from it, at the same time wishing for rain and wanting the sunshine.
The temperatures go up and down in spite of our plans, and still we carry on. Picnics in the park become picnics in the living room. Golf dates become 19th hole camaraderie. We find ways of adjusting our lives to the weather we cannot control. We can all be flexible when we want to be. Flexibility is a conscious choice.
Our relationships are also interesting phenomena and sometimes just as unpredictable as the weather. Some of our interactions are intimately personal, and some don’t seem like contact at all, but no matter how independent we feel, we are inescapably entwined and mutually reliant partners in the dance of life.
Flexibility is a quality that allows us to move through changes in the weather and changes in our world. We all have ways of adapting to the situations in which we find ourselves. What actor/dancer Fred Astaire said about ballroom dancing can also be applied to our interactions with friends and family, even strangers in the grocery store: “Cultivate flexibility. Be able to adapt your style to that of your partner. In doing so, you are not surrendering your individuality, but blending it with that of your partner.”
We do not all have to like the same things, have the same beliefs, the same experiences, nor the same values in order to blend with the people around us into a harmonious whole. Just as we can’t control the sun and the rain, we can’t control the people in our lives, but we are in charge of the way we relate to them.
We can reach out in whatever way is available to us and enrich our connection. Social media, the telephone, nodding to each other in the grocery store all are ways of acknowledging our bond, our common situation. We can let go of worrying about the things we really can’t control and focus on the present moment. When we do, we may find ourselves easily moving into kindness and flexibility.
In these difficult times, it is good to see each other as partners dancing in the rain, waiting for the sun to shine.
The Rev. Linda McNamar is a Laguna Woods Village resident.
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