I hate the rain.

Play in the RainAs an adult, rain means that I will cold and wet when I get to the office, that my gadget might get ruined, and that the grass will be harder to mow tomorrow. Rain means traffic is going to suck. My shoes will squish, and my perfectly styled hair will be ruined (you know…if I was a women I would say that, hypothetically).

But to a child…

To a child, rain is a special time of play. The water in your eyes, the cold on your neck, and the peacefulness that often comes with the white noise of a steady downpour; all of these are a thing of joy to a child.

What changed my feelings about rain so quickly and drastically from the age of fourteen to twenty? When did rain transform from the perfect playtime companion to an evil soggy monster? I’m not entirely sure, but there is definitely a connection between my changed feelings and my starting to wear cologne, using hair gel, and wearing a belt.

Three Memorial Days ago, my wife and I went to see my family in North Carolina. After lunch, we went out to play with my nieces, ages 7, 7, and 13 at the time. Shortly after we started to play, the skies opened up. It was a moment I had been dreading. They had been pregnant with rain for hours and now that we were outside, the enemy of my cologne and hair gel fell mercilessly from the sky.

But a curious thing happened just then. I remembered something my pastor had talked about only weeks before. Remembering the words of my pastor is one of those rare occurrences like Haley’s Comet or a meaningful Chicago Cub’s game, so I listened…to myself, to God, to the voice speaking to me saying, “Remember Haiti. Stay. Play in the rain.”

My pastor had told the story of how he had recently been on a mission trip to Haiti. On the way back to the hotel with his group, they were on the beach and the skies opened up on them. They first started running but soon realized they were soaked. And collectively or one-by-one, I don’t know which, they began to play. Grown men with gray hairs. Children at home, some in college. And they played in the rain.

They splashed puddles. They kicked mud. They played…like boys do before they discover girls and shirts with ego-boosting logos on them.

When he got back home, our pastor shared this story and told us that now, instead of the familiar refrain, “get in from out of the rain, children,” he calls out, “it’s raining, let’s go outside.”

And that is what we did with my nieces that day. We played. With water streaming down our faces and an occasional longing for the warm interior of my mother’s home…and dry clothes, we played. The other adults gathered in the garage and watched. Some even called us crazy. But my nieces still talk about that day two and a half years later. To them, a few hours in the rain created a lifetime memory.

Have you ever had a “play in the rain” moment…a memory that will last someone’s lifetime?

10 thoughts on “Play in the Rain

  1. Jon Stolpe says:

    I think this is one of the reasons why I like one or two bigger snow storms each winter. It forces you outside for a couple of hours to shovel and then to play with the kids.

    1. Jon Stolpe says:

      (The Thank You Thursday Revolution continued yesterday!)

      1. Matt McWilliams says:


    2. Matt McWilliams says:

      I am looking forward to a few of those this year now that our daughter is old enough to play in the snow!

    3. Todd Liles says:

      We always liked the seasons of the midwest. Austin is hot, not as hot.

  2. Carol Dublin says:

    You’ve done it again. You keep challenging me so much that sometimes I can’t even comment. I’m not very spontaneous, so I’ve not had a lot of “play in the rain” moments. Definitely something I need to work on. Great post.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Awesome Carol and thank you!

      I am with you. I plan out everything, right down to the minute. But…sometimes I get moments like this!

  3. Todd Liles says:

    Many nephew and I find those moments when we get together 2 or 3 times a year. 4 Wheelers stuck in the mud. Playing airsoft in the woods. Taking him and his friends to see Transformers. All good times.

  4. Nice. It has been raining everyday her in New England for the past week and I caught myself complaining about it. Which is not like me. This post helped me remember that I like it.

    Sad how we stop playing when we get old and start complaining.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Glad it helped Jim. Honestly, I still draw the line at sub-55 degrees and rain 🙂

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