Grateful For The Rain
May 27, 2017
Having spent most of the previous four years in sunny, drought-stricken southern California, I arrived in Ireland last September a bit unprepared for Ireland’s abundance of rain. Especially during the Irish winter, there are some days when it feels like Mother Nature is cooking up her own version of the Ice Bucket Challenge, whether we want to play or not. When the wind picks up, as it often does, the rain seemingly pelts us from the side too, and occasionally one’s umbrella is turned inside out.
But if the rain is occasionally a minor inconvenience, it also provides gentle reminders of some valuable lessons. For starters, the rain reminds us that a little extra preparation, whether in the form of a raincoat or an umbrella, can be extremely valuable. It also reminds us that no matter how well prepared you are, you’re still going to get wet sometimes. Maybe most importantly, the rain reminds us that sometimes temporary discomfort is a necessary component of a meaningful experience. The last soccer game I played this year was scheduled on an evening with heavy, frigid downpours, and when we arrived for warm-ups, many players on both teams seemed to be in a foul mood, myself included. Nevertheless, once the game began, we played with a wild abandon, and left the pitch smiling.
Ireland could not have the incredibly lush, radiant greenery that makes it the Emerald Isle without its abundance of rain. Of course, without rain, most plants cannot grow. Similarly, without experiencing some amount of discomfort, we cannot grow as people. I am grateful for many things about my time in Ireland, including the opportunity to broaden my education, the opportunity to explore Ireland’s natural beauty and cultural heritage, and the opportunity to build deep friendships with the other Mitchell scholars as well as my classmates at UCD. Maybe most of all, I am grateful for the moments of discomfort, because these are the moments that have helped me grow the most.