April showers bring May flowers

By Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Milton Johnson, Garrison Chaplain's OfficeApril 12, 2012

The Easter weekend celebration reminded me of a popular phrase that I memorized as a teenager that encourages me to look forward to the month of May with excitement and enthusiasm, in spite of the depression that looms from the hard and long winter of the past several months -- that phrase is, April showers, bring May flowers.

Following the commemoration of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus over the weekend, I kept thinking about phrases like: weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning; there is a silver lining after each dark cloud; and this too shall pass.

The reality of Jesus' death producing new life parallels with the thought of sunshine following a season of gloom and sadness. Like April showers bringing May flowers

Perhaps everybody heard this rhyme at some point, generally having been taught it at an early age by parents or teachers. It's a popular thing to say and hear around springtime, but one thing you might not know is where the rhyme originated from. It reaches back to the mid 1500s, although earlier use of "April showers bring May flowers" probably existed.

In 1557, a man by the name of Thomas Tusser compiled a collection of writings he called "A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry." In the April husbandry section, he wrote:

Sweet April showers

Do spring May flowers

As you can see, the rhyme was originally a short poem. However, there is meaning behind the words, as well.

"April showers bring May flowers" is a reminder that even the most unpleasant of things, in this case the heavy rains of April, can bring about very enjoyable things indeed -- even an abundance of flowers in May. "April showers bring May flowers" is also a lesson in patience, and one that remains valid to this day.

Many of life's greatest things come only to those who wait, and by patiently and happily enduring the clouds and damp of April, you can find yourself more easily able to take in the sights and smells of May. After all, it's easier to love something if you begin with an optimistic outlook.

Listen to an amazing story I read several months ago about a couple who experienced showers of blessings after the rain of repeated disaster in their life.

After his parents were brutally murdered in North Vietnam, Ri moved to South Vietnam. While there, he went to school and eventually became a building contractor. He prospered greatly until he was arrested on a trip heading north.

After being imprisoned in North Vietnam for three years, he finally escaped and made his way south, only to be charged as a spy for the North.

When he learned that the U.S. was pulling out of South Vietnam, he gave all his worldly possessions in exchange for a passage on a small overcrowded fishing boat. He was later picked up on the high seas by an American ship and taken to the Philippines. Once there, he lived in a refugee camp for two years until he was allowed to come to the United States.

Once he arrived in the United States, Ri's cousin offered both him and his wife jobs in his tailor shop. Even though their net pay was only $300 per week, they were determined to succeed. For two years, they lived in the back room of the tailor shop and took sponge baths so they could save every penny possible.

Within two years, they had saved $30,000 and bought out the cousin's business. It was only then that they rented an apartment.

Today Ri is a millionaire. Hard work and frugal living can bring a dream into reality! What a success story!

Have you had a season of setbacks, disappointments or hindrances? Do not be dismayed. Remember these things: there has never been a wind that did not change directions, clouds do not hang forever and April showers bring May flowers.