I was recently inspired by this photograph on Twitter to write a poem. The poem led to a book. It’s amazing how quickly the words flew onto the pages. Inspiration will do that to you. The photograph is entitled, Reaching for Rain.
Rain has been a literary symbol for sadness, rejection, or despair. But rain has also represented refreshment, hope, and is vital for life. The plants in the picture are drying out and appear to be reaching for refreshment from much needed rain. Even though they are dry they are still standing, still reaching.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that an estimate of more than 2.8 million adolescents ages 12 to 17 suffered from a major depressive episode in 2013 (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adolescents.shtml). As a fourteen year teacher of junior high age students, I have seen firsthand the effects of depression on student academic performance, social relationships, family relationships, and their ability to cope during stressful situations. Many of them are like the plants in the picture–in desperate need of a refreshing rain called hope.
The book I’m working on is called Reaching for Rain and tells stories of how some young people have faced their depression and used creative ways to come out of the darkness.Not all children have unlimited support from family and they rely on members of the community in programs such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Clubs, and adults they encounter on a regular basis. Others find hope in reaching out to help the less fortunate while others overcome their personal darkness by creating works of art, performing on stage, and writing poetry, music, and inspiring stories.
The young people in Reaching for Rain learn to change their own lives through volunteering, discovering their personal talents, initiating community service projects, setting and achieving personal goals, and participating in youth groups at their local churches.
I wrote this book for young people because every year I meet some wonderful kids who are having a tough time dealing with life. Some of them suffer from medical conditions they have no control over. Others have broken school and society’s laws and need someone to give them a fresh start. There are other kids who appear to have everything they could ever want, but don’t know how to get along with others. Many young people try to find their identity in the friends they make or from celebrities. They believe if they try to be like the people they think have it together, life would be better. In reality, there really is no specific formula for making life better. There is no perfect life. The key to making life better is to never give up on hope.
Hope is like rain. Hope can refresh the dry places in life. Hope can restore lost faith. Hope can energize individuals to create something extraordinary. Hope can change someone’s outlook on life. Hope can ignite a passion that can flood a life with more possibilities than could ever be imagined.
Encourage the young people in your life reach for hope.
Reach for Rain
Rain refreshes earth.
Rain recolors landscapes.
Rain washes windows.
Rain cools heat.
Rain replenishes ponds.
Rain inspires creativity.
Rain brings hope.
Reach for rain.
By Ci Mosley