Disruption: Day 16 / by Jeff Tacklind

Today it rained on our parade.  Literally.  In one of the driest years of California’s history, we just so happened to get hit with a storm at the exact time the Patriot’s Day Parade was beginning in Laguna.  What are the odds?

When I say storm, I should be more clear.  More like a light sprinkle and air temps in the mid 50’s.  But for us, that’s a big deal.  That’s almost enough to justify a state of emergency around here.  A little bit of rain is the equivalent to a blizzard elsewhere.  Any bit of weather and we panic.

But this year’s parade was rain or shine.  Because a couple years ago, someone pulled the plug early on the event, and the forecasted rain never showed up.  That one must have stung.  Anyways, we weren’t going to make that mistake again.

And rightly so, because the crowds were as big this year as ever.  Maybe bigger.  Something about needing to actually wear a rain coat and dust off that umbrella.  There was a buzz about the whole thing.  

One of my neighbors just couldn’t get over the cuteness of the day.  Watching our kids march by with the bands.  Mia giving me that half smile while she shakes her head ‘no’ as I embarrassingly cheer her name.  It really is the best.

But this year was better, and I think it was because of the rain.  

We’ve grown so familiar with this parade.  And that is part of the charm.  We love each group and float, School Power, Health in Balance, Indian Princesses, Laughing Yoga.  Laguna is a wonderfully small town with deep roots.  And this is our families 17th parade. 

But after a while, they all start to blend together in our heads.  It is our brain’s way of organizing similar experiences, almost like how a computer compresses files.  Familiar memories get stored together and, as a result, tend to blur into one.

But disruptions, like rain on a parade, create a uniqueness.  They give us a story.  A shared experience.  Disruptions wake us up and help us experience life with eyes wide open.  Fresh and new.  Next year, we’ll say, “remember the rain?!”

We spend so much of our lives avoiding disruptions, when instead, we should embrace the unique invitation they bring.  Let’s not cancel our metaphorical parades, but instead, be brave enough to show up.  Instead of avoiding the rain, let’s throw on our coats and get our feet wet.  Because, if we’re not careful, the joys in life can pass by unnoticed, and the memories can blur.  But disruptions give us eyes to see, and the discomfort can present invitations otherwise unlooked for.