When you can’t control the weather

There are events so big we plan for them for months, sometimes years. We do whatever we can to make the day perfect. We agonize over every detail. We think about Murphy’s Law and try to mitigate the risks. Then about 10 days before the big day, we begin obsessively checking the weather forecast. We become engulfed in emotions over the one thing we have absolutely no control over.

This past weekend we were doing just that as Kurt’s son and daughter-in-law prepared for their three-time rescheduled wedding celebration in North Carolina and many of our friends were about to toe the starting line of the Chicago Marathon. No one got the weather they wanted.

The garden wedding ceremony was moved under a tent. Marathoners slowed their pace and adjusted time goals to account for the higher temperature and humidity. Disappointment abound of course, although isn’t it all a metaphor for life?

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

Vivian green

Life itself is as unpredictable as the weather and nothing is certain. I was a much different person 28 years ago when I got married the first time. I have come to understand what makes it all so much better now is that in becoming a more mature adult, I’ve learned to dance in the rain. I’ve learned to let go of what’s out of my control and embrace the surprises that come with the ambiguity.

August 24 in Chicago was a horrendously hot and humid day. Although the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I cut my morning run short because of the heat, but was optimistic about the rest of the day’s forecast. Heat I could handle. This was our wedding day.

We met on the Wabash Avenue Bridge and walked slowly toward our ceremony venue in Maggie Daley Park as our fabulous photographer captured each moment. Then a storm cloud appeared. Frantically checking weather apps, we hoped one would show it moving away from us. But that was not to be. Someone was sent back to the hotel to get the six matching umbrellas I had decided just an hour before to leave behind.

The ceremony was marred only by a little wind that threw a few hairs out of place. Some family photos, and we were on the way to our private dinner reception at a restaurant about a mile away. This is when the skies decided to open up. Without hesitating we agreed this was going to create some pretty spectacular photos and we were right. We got drenched. We laughed. We ate dinner wrapped in towels.

Whether we are training for a marathon or planning a wedding, some uncertainly has to be acceptable, because that’s all life has. In being able to manage disappointment in the things we have no control over, in playing whatever cards we’re dealt, we can find joy, contentment and happiness. A marriage is no less a marriage and marathon is still a 26.2 mile spectacular achievement. Plus crappy weather makes for a much better story.

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