During my day at work there is usually some point in time where I stop whatever I am doing and, for a brief moment, stare out the window. I’m not really sure why I do this, I think it could be my way of achieving some slow down and letting the world wrap me up for just a moment. Sometimes this brief stop over turns into a longer affair as I stand and watch people, think about problems at work or in my life, or just really lose myself in the vista presented by my overlook of the campus.

Today, after what has seemed like an eternity of pounding away at work that had to be done, I took advantage of one of those opportunities and stood staring out of the window for several minutes. I’m sure that anyone looking up to the third floor and seeing me standing there would wonder what type of madman I am, watching everyone move about as they go on their day. As I watched, I saw the ebb and flow of the campus, classes let out and a flood of people surged from the entrance to the CIT building across from me. A few minutes passed and the sea of humanity began to move on, going on to their next class, or home, or the RAC, or work, or where ever their countless many stories would take them.

I have been here on campus at pretty much most times of day, the early morning, during the working day, and very late at night. I think my favorite times are those when the students are in class, and the campus is serving its purpose, to educate. During that time though, the view out of my windows is somewhat bleak. Campus seems to be deserted, save the occasional person walking up or down the long stretch that spans Georgia Southern.

Today, during that time frame, it began to rain. It was a shower that came on suddenly, howled intensely for several minutes, then like the frustrated cries of a child, burned itself out and silenced. Two or three people that I could see were caught in the middle of this terrible, drenching rain. This was the type of rain that just penetrated every layer of your clothing no matter what you did. I knew that soon they would encounter their friends, and they would ask, “What happened?”

I began thinking about the stories that would come, “I don’t know! It just started raining like crazy, I had to run to get into the building!” or “I left my umbrella in the car, I didn’t think I’d need it, but I guess I was wrong.” or the very rare “It started raining, I was already soaked, so I just stood and enjoyed the feel of the rain pouring down on me. I felt so alive.” It occurs to me that we can all be involved in the same experience, but have much different outlooks on what happened. The rain could, conceivably ruin our day, “Because of the rain, my car hydroplaned and I hit a telephone pole.” or the rain could change our lives forever, “I was running to get out of the rain, and he came up beside me and put his umbrella over me. I was hooked from that very moment.” or become the realization of our fears, “It was raining on the day it happened, and now anytime I feel those drops of water on my skin I lose myself in memories of the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”

Humans are complex, and confusing to themselves, let alone others. I’ve recently learned that because you are involved in something doesn’t mean it is what you think it is, especially if other people are involved. What you are seeing may not exactly be the way someone else sees things.

But what about the rain? Who will listen to the story of the rain? I use the story of the rain loosely, obviously the rain does not have a history, but the rain is doing what it is meant to do. It is working its part in the cycle of the world, and at most times we ignore it. What other stories happen around us that we do not notice? The story of the unnoticed, “I am so alone, all I want is for someone to reach out to me, but I have nothing.” The story of the happy, “The world can do its best to keep me down, but I will not give in, and I will face this day with a smile.” The story of us, “Two people met and neither of them know what is going to happen, and we are both afraid.”

For every person in this world, and every event that happens to them, there is a story behind what caused it, why it happened, what happened when it did, and what someone should take away from it. I fear, especially for myself, that at times we only see our story, and do not see the story that the world is showing us. Perhaps once in a while we need to stop and listen to the stories told by the rain.

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