In my neighborhood every summer, a little bird comes to visit called a Hermit Thrush. I can still remember the first time I ever heard this bird singing in the woods behind my house. My family and I couldn't figure out what kind of bird it was…only that it had the most beautiful song in the world. We called a friend of ours that was a birdwatcher and asked him if he knew what it might be. After much deliberation over the phone, he said he would come out and listen to it and see if he could tell what it was. Upon hearing the bird's call, he told us, "That's a Hermit Thrush." Ever since that day many years ago, we always look forward to that sweet bird coming to our area for the summer. Just the other day we heard it for the first time this year. What a moment of excitement!
One thing about this bird that I find fascinating is that it usually sings its loudest when it rains. While out for an afternoon walk in the rain the other day, I heard its lyrical melody echoing through the dense woods of my neighborhood. As I strode along, it occurred to me that this bird can teach us a valuable lesson about life. In life, sometimes the rains come hard. The drops fall in numbers and the clouds hang low. In these times, the views seem hidden. When these times have arisen in my life, I have often complained. I have asked God to remove the rain, to make it sunny so that all would be pleasant once again. I have despised the rain and dared it to leave…not realizing that it could be my opportunity to grow. In thinking about the Hermit Thrush, I stumble on a profound conclusion: perhaps the presence of Grace is never more evident than when you choose to sing in the rain. Filled with regret, I see that I have squandered so many chances to choose joy in the sorrows; to be as happy when the skies are grey as when they're blue. To realize that the view may be hidden but the scenery is still beautiful. The mountain heights may be obscured but this only means that I must look lower in order to see the beauty. Just because it's raining doesn't mean that my happiness must diminish or my joy cease to be evident. Like the bird, I can shine my brightest when the drops pour down and the clouds hang low. And so I say, "Let the rain come. I will choose to sing!"