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  • Writer's pictureKP PALMER

Dancing In The Rain

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

Not proud of my mindset, I began preparing for our 13th move with the US ARMY while still unpacking from the 12th. I was in the garage unwrapping pictures that I never bothered to unpack from the last move (just a mere 10 months ago), and I was feeling a little overwhelmed and a whole lot of irritated. After unwrapping a few items that resulted in instant remorse for not trashing them at the last duty station, I came across a small wooden sign that read “Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, learn how to dance in the rain.”

Coincidence? Perhaps. But I was getting the feeling that finding this particular sign (that I had forgotten even existed in my garage) was not accidental. The mere presence of it made me cringe with regret. I had let the stress and busyness of the upcoming PCS (Permanant Change of Station for the Civilians out there) overtake the excitement and joy of it all.

When we first get the news of where our next zip code will be, there is the initial excitement (or shock) that overtakes at least the next 48 hours of our lives. We tell friends and family and burn the midnight oil searching for homes on Zillow or MBO. We lose hours (sometimes days) researching schools and activities in the area. We ask to be added to every Facebook page we can find in hopes of gleaning any information that will help us start over, yet again. We beg others who have lived in our new place for recommendations for good schools, doctors, churches, and even hairdressers to help us bridge the gap in finding those new people.

It is easy at this point to cross the line from researching to obsessing. We fall prey to the theory that ‘”once we get there and get settled, we can relax and have fun.” Once we are registered, set up in DEERS, find the new doctors, sports teams, church and everything else we need, then we can feel settled.

All these things can quickly become burdens if we let them. I believe that phrase “learn to dance in the storm” is rooted in the biblical guidance of “finding Joy in the suffering”. Sometimes we get in the mindset that we can’t feel joy (or feel like dancing) until the suffering is over.

But what if we stop for a minute, and just embrace the pure joy of a PCS. Instead of chastising ourselves over all the things we failed to do after the last move and all the things we need to get done. Instead of saying:

“After we get unpacked….”

“When we are all settled in….”

“Once the stress of the move is over…”

Why don’t we find some joy even if those things haven’t happened? A PCS isn’t a storm that needs to pass for us to feel happy. It is up to us to bring our “whole selves” to the new place. The new place will not change us.

Inside some of our carefully sealed PCS boxes contain all the things that tried to rob us of our joy in the last duty station. School issues, friend issues, mental and physical illness, discontent, and all the other storms we wish would pass will more than likely be packed up and shipped to the new place.

And while it is tempting to say “ Well…..just don’t open that box” (Pandora anyone?). Eventually we will have to open it, embrace it, and not be afraid to let it come into the new place. After all, those storms won’t disappear once we leave the old place and the new place won’t make them go away. But we can keep them sealed them up for a bit and try find the joy in the moment of this move.

So if you are on the back end of the PCS, don’t get too stressed about what you have to get done. The paperwork, websites, and Facebook pages aren’t going anywhere. Take in another chapel service, or shop at the store you love so much, and make sure to visit with the friends you are about to say goodbye to in the next few weeks.

If you are on the front end of a PCS, put down the box cutter and take some time to discover the joy of the new place. walk the new neighborhood or pop into a local restaurant. Find a good hiking trail or just hang out in front yard with some ice cream. Take a moment and breathe. That box will still be there tomorrow. Best of luck to those on a PCS path this summer. Cherish the memories, embrace the newness, and don’t forget to DANCE in the rain!

**This piece is dedicated to my rock, my husband, who despite his two left feet, dances beautifully in the rain.

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