“Everybody wants happiness and nobody wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow without (a little bit of) rain”
This quote crops up in my facebook wall time and time again. I assume it is a motivational passage of the “no pain no gain” variety, a push to do what I have to do even if I don’t feel like it for rewards that await at the end. I sort of understand. However, whenever I read it I instinctively rebel. The statement relates happiness to rainbow and pain to rain. This is, in my view, a bit dodgy.
First of all, I can think of other ways — mists, spray and airborne dew, says Wikipedia— of getting rainbow without rain. In my campus, there is a fountain —although I rarely see water coming out of it nowadays— that observing it from certain angles would give you rainbow. I used to circle its perimeter when I needed to think. As I recall, whenever I saw the rainbow I always thought it was an interesting optical phenomenon and that it was also an illusion.
With that in mind, my deciphering the quote would be that happiness is also an illusion. Happiness is a matter of perspective: looking at things from a proper angle. You don’t find happiness but you conjure it.
Or do you?
Then there is the “rain and pain” connection that I should challenge because I love rain.
Rain can be a challenge sometimes but never a foe. When we were children, my brother and I used to go out playing in the rain until it stopped. Of course, you get wet in the rain but it is one of the best experience I have ever had, something I will not call pain. Even the best thing about a recent exhibition at the campus, boldly (and freely translated) titled “I, You, and Cosmos” was the rain, and thus deemed apt. After a rainy night, I would go out first thing in the morning to smell the wet grass and feel them with bare feet. Rain brings life and joy.
Rain has been portrayed in negative light in our culture most of the time. Movies, music videos and tv dramas employ rain to exaggerate break up scenes, tragedies and melodramas. Literature, quotes and lyrics use metaphors that implicate rain in calamities and miseries. I may blow it out of proportion but this misrepresentation should be corrected before it settles in our collective psyche.
Or is this too late?
Once, I decided that should anyone quote me for anything, it had better be about rain. I am still trying to come up with something profound though. So this quote from an unknown source should do for now.
“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain”