Monday, June 10, 2013

Sunshine and Rain-How To Live With Both.

Glancing out the window as I write, I notice the sun is glinting on the rain soaked leaves. It has been that kind of day: torrential rain splattered with bursts of humid, misty sunshine.

And it has been that kind of week in our school and synagogue community. 

With celebrations of the highest order and tragedy so deep, we cannot find words to express emotions.

My husband Jonny, was honored for his 12 years of "exemplary leadership" as Head of School last Tuesday. It was a joy filled evening. It was an evening of warmth, admiration, love, laughter and respect. His staff and students sang to him. His three sons told heart warming stories about him. Students raved and parents, teachers, board and community members expressed their appreciation. 

And on Friday we celebrated our 12 year old son's graduation from 6th grade and move up to the Upper Campus. This was also a morning filled with joy, song and a tremendous atmosphere.

These two events framed a deeply tragic loss of a friend's husband, a parent of 4 children, to suicide. 

It was the raging storm bookended  by sunshine. It was the rain soaked leaves surrounded by beautiful new blooms..

We jolted from joy to tragedy and back to joy like a rollercoaster ride.

I had a restless Friday night's sleep. How could I celebrate with my family in the wake of such tragedy? How could I support my friend authentically, whilst being in the midst of our family's joy? 

I had some insight as I sat in synagogue on Saturday morning.

 Many families celebrated events that morning. A mother whose parents had died in a car crash was celebrating her son's Barmitzvah. Parents were celebrating their son's upcoming marriage, having lost a nephew in a horrific accident. Grandparents celebrated a new granddaughter having mourned the loss of another grandchild to stillbirth just weeks earlier. 

Their lives are like our week. Like today's weather, marked by torrential storms and beautiful sunshine. Lurching from joy to sorrow and back again. 

How do we handle this? 

How do we find the strength to celebrate and the strength to mourn? 

I think we find it by supporting each other. By being there for the ups and downs and in-betweens. For being consistent in our friendship, love and compassion for the people we care about deeply and the people we barely know. 

I think we need to give and receive in equal measure so that we can build others up when they are down and seek solace ourselves when our spirits are low. 

Life is very complicated. Like weather patterns, it is unpredictable. When the storms come we must put up our umbrellas together to manage the impact of the rain. 

And when the sun comes out, together let's face towards the sunlight so the shadows are behind us*.

Sending peace and comfort to all who are struggling. Send me a message to tell me how you are.

Please share this post to let others know they are not alone and we are here for each other, always.


*Phrase based on a Maori proverb

Here are some other  posts to bring you comfort
Why Routine brings Comfort
6 Ways to Build Certainty In an Uncertain World 
Pondering On The Porch
When There's Trouble Brewing -Do This

 Please email me at or leave a comment on this post below. I'd love to have your feedback. 

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  1. Life is a river and the force of the water carries us along. Sometimes your going over sparkly waterfalls into a beautiful clear pool below and other times it is torrid rapids and murky muddy water, the two can be very close toghether , the water does not stop but there are sections of calm smooth lazy meandering , I guess it is the staying afloat that is the trick. Jo xx

    1. It's all about the quantity and quality of the water! Like anything the balance is crucial to our wellbeing. Staying afloat in the murkiness is the challenge and that's where community comes in. We all need each other to balance the boat, when the seas are rough. Thank You Jo for helping me stay afloat. :-)

  2. you have captured what all of us are going through and we thank you for putting words to our feelings and emotions. i know i have felt exactly this way over the last weeks....and today the sun is shining, thank G-d! maybe we can all start to move forward. J

    1. Yes we need to move forward together hand-in-hand, ready to steady qnyone who may trip. So glad for the sun and the rain. In the right quantities we need them both to nurture our surroundings.
      Thanks for commenting

  3. Simply beautiful, Gilly - with warmth and truth. XOXO

  4. This was beautiful, Gilly. Thank you so much for your thoughts and emotions. We are all touched by these events, and we are reminded that we are a community of people who can share the happy as well as the sad times.

  5. Thank you Stephanie -In this century where so many of us are far from our blood relatives, community needs to be our substitute family to support us through the roller coaster of life.
    Thank you for reading and for leaving a comment. Greatly appreciated.

  6. Well you brought me to tears on this one, Gilly! Such a difficult topic to put into words, and you managed to express it so beautifully.

  7. Thank you Jane.
    Talking about and being there for the difficult times is very challenging but just as important as celebrating.Life gives us opportunities for both and embracing each, adds another dimension to who we become.
    Thank you for taking the time to comment.Your feedback is very important to me!

  8. Hi Gilly,
    Such a beautiful post, even though it made me cry. When something sad happens, we always wonder if we can laugh again, or even if it is right to do so. We can though, and it is right.
    I don't know where I would be without some laughter in my life. It's what keeps me going. I often think about my niece who we lost last year and still can not believe that I will never see her again. But in my head I can hear her laugh, and she had one of those contagious laughs. I hope I can always hear her laughter in my head. Makes it feel like part of her is still here. I hadn't really thought of it in that way until I wrote it here, so a nice thought to go to sleep with.
    Thanks for your posts Gilly,

    1. Thank you Liz.
      Do you have a picture of your niece laughing? You certainly have one in your head which is wonderful. She is certainly with you, through your memories and stories. No one can take those away! I hope the thought of her laughing makes you smile often.

    2. It does Gilly. And somewhere she is still laughing and making other people laugh. I'm sure of it.