Thursday, September 29, 2005

Rain or shine

Living in Minnesota means not only dealing with a bunch of weird and nasty weather, but talking about the weather ad nauseam as well. We stress about it, predict it, plan for it, and inevitably curse the local weatherman when his or her forecast is the polar opposite of reality. And then we comment on how good or bad the weather is to make small talk with complete strangers. I swear, if I had a nickel for every time I've heard the phrase "cold enough for ya?", I'd have a second house in Hawaii.

And so it came to pass that, last weekend, we rode the emotional rollercoaster that is Minnesota weather, hoping that the latest prognostication of cold and rainy would turn out to be wrong yet again. Saturday we awoke to rain and wind, not a sunbeam in sight, and ventured out to a fundraiser walk for the ALS Association. It rained most of the way there and throughout registration. And then it stopped. For most of those who walked the 3-mile route around Lake Harriet in south Minneapolis that morning (I waited in the bandshell), hardly a raindrop befell them. We had been spared.

But our ride was not yet over. We listened to the rain on our roof throughout Saturday night, silently praying that the clouds would blow themselves out of town by morning, in time for our first golfing fundraiser to benefit the ALS Therapy Development Foundation. When the alarm went off, it didn't look good. Gray, overcast skies everywhere. But low and behold, we were again spared the wrath of Mother Nature. The clouds stayed throughout, but the day turned out quite nice, all things considered, and our golfers stayed dry. Well, mostly dry. The course itself was a bit wet, which simply made for a more challenging round. Ain't that right Patrick and Frig?

It is here that I must pause to give a most heartfelt and appreciative 'thank you' to all who participated, in both events, and especially to those who organized our golf tournament. To Tom, our sponsor, and the rest of the volunteers from Techware, and to my family and friends, thank you so much for making it all come together so wonderfully. We had a great time. And more importantly, we gained a renewed hope for our future. Thank you all for the generous giving of both your time and money. The funds you have raised will bring us one step closer to a cure.

Frankly, I think in some ways the weather this past weekend was perfect. Easy to say perhaps since it turned out much better than was predicted. But it helped remind me that, while we can certainly hope for sunny days ahead, we must not let the weather dictate our emotions. Our happiness or sadness. Like my illness, we have virtually no control over the weather, and so many other things in the world.

Indeed, I think the variety of cold, hot, dry, humid, cloudy, sunny, rainy, and snowy days we experience only adds to the rich tapestry of our lives. We must prepare for anything to be sure, especially in a state that sees a 130 degree temperature fluctuation throughout the year. But we should get up, each and every day, and look out the window with anticipation, in awe, to discover what nature has in store for us, with our goal to make the most of the hand we've been dealt. All the while knowing that, if we're fortunate enough to be granted another one, the next day will bring something new. Something different. And like everyone's favorite gourmet restaurant Arby's likes to tell us, "different is good."

Believe it or not, I've come to love cold weather. I mean, you can't possibly know how good it feels to come inside and warm up if you didn't have borderline frostbite in the first place can you? I think growing up with Minnesota weather makes you a bit tougher that way. I hope it will help me weather the storm of my illness as well. But who knows, could be that part of my brain was frozen since birth and I'm just deluding myself. Regardless, no matter how overcast my emotions might get, I intend to get up and enjoy each and every day I'm alive. Rain or shine.

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