Angel in the Rain
Last week I re-read Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help. In it she shares a story told to her by her ex-boyfriend Blake. He, like Amanda, performed as a living statue in Boston.
In Blake’s own words:
Early on in my busking career I got caught in a summer rainstorm. You know how it is sometimes in Boston, there will be a drop or two of rain and it’s a fifty-fifty chance it will either clear up and get sunny again or just plain downpour. Eventually I made a rule for myself that if the bricks on the sidewalk got more than halfway covered in water it was time to get down and seek shelter, but this was my first real rainstorm. I knew my costume wasn’t waterproof; the wings were largely made of papier-mâché, but I also knew the costume needed some improvement and figured if it got ruined that’d be all the more motivation to make a second version.
So, the clouds rolled in and the raindrops came slowly, then quickly. The pedestrians tend to disappear as soon as the first few drops hit the ground. It seemed like there was no one around, and I wondered what it would mean to busk in an empty square. So I stayed. I held a pose with my arms slightly out and down. Not the easiest pose, but one I could hold for quite some time.
I waited the rainstorm out, getting soaking wet, down to the core. After probably only fifteen or twenty minutes of really heavy rain, the sun came out. The rain stopped and the sidewalk started to dry. I had really thought no one was watching, but for the next several minutes people came from all directions and they spoke to me, saying they had seen me in the rain and that they were touched. I didn’t really think it was that big of a deal at the time. It was an easy choice. For the rest of my decade-long career, people occasionally came up to me and said they’d seen me in the rain.
I like the image of an angel in the rain as a symbol of resilience.
There are many occasions in life when the skies open up and we have the choice whether we run for shelter or stand our ground and weather the storm.
Weathering the storm doesn’t just help build your strength, it can inspire others.
Blake demonstrates his tenacity in this story. When the going got tough, he risked his pride and ignored what people might think in order to honour or stay true to the work he came there to do.
It’s not useful to wait to start until the conditions are perfect. If we only did our important work when there was blue sky and sunshine, when our ducks were in a row, when we were feeling energetic and inspired…we honestly wouldn’t get much done.
Instead we ought to be prepared to be angels in the rain and show up no matter the weather. The rain might turn out to be the magic ingredient that our project needs.