by Jason Jett Division C Director
That’s a line from a song in Les Misérables that Eponine sings as she is dying. It’s a beautiful, haunting moment in the show. It has stuck with me for years, and it’s a great pearl onion, with so many layers.
Life is like that. There’s rain. It is often inconvenient, it’s messy; it comes at the wrong time. It comes when we don’t want it, and where we don’t want it. But, like so many happenings in life that might seem adverse, it makes us better if we let it.
Sometimes the rain comes in the form of criticism. Maybe it was well intended, maybe it wasn’t. We can either take that criticism and let it waterlog us, or we can take it, turn it around, and use it to grow.
In Toastmasters, we strive to give feedback that’s kind, but useful. As humans we often miss the mark, and our feedback can be harsh; harsher than intended. Even using the sandwich method, saying something positive, something that needs improvement, followed by something else positive can be a real stinker and hard to swallow. For that situation, and for the countless others, I offer you this suggestion: give yourself time and space away from what’s afflicting your comfort, then gently return and evaluate if there is a seed there that might do well with some watering. Maybe there’s something to it, maybe there isn’t.
Not everyone who criticizes is a bad person. Not everyone who compliments is a good person. We have to take that water that’s thrust upon us and determine if we let it roll off our back like a duck, or if we allow it to build us up. What you can’t afford is to just let it get inside you to mold or fester.
Another line in Eponine’s dying musical monologue reminds us that “a little fall of rain can hardly hurt me now”. Yes, Eponine, so true a little fall of rain can hardly hurt us now if we handle it the right way, and yes, the rain will help the flowers grow.