Last night a mighty storm with fast blowing winds and rain came through our area. I sat in the house listening to dead limbs being shaken from the big Oak tree in our front yard, the rain pounding on the roof. There were a few times I went outside to see the storm but the sun had already set and with the clouds overhead there wasn’t much to view. Then the power went out. It wasn’t surprising because of the fierceness of the wind. I went outside again and nothing could be seen but I could feel the wind threatening to blow me over as it had a couple of our potted trees. Finally, after a few hours, the storm had passed, the lights were back on, and I was thankful the storm has passed.
I don’t like storms at night. The biggest reason is that I can’t see anything, not even the direction of the blowing wind. As I sat in a candlelit living room, everything quiet but storm raging outside, I was reminded of life and the storms we face. There are times we see the storm coming but there are other times when one comes out of nowhere. It’s ferociousness rocks our lives and we feel blind as we try to feel our way forward. These can be the scariest of all because there is seemingly no light to see by, to make us feel safe, or to tell us we are nearing the end. The only thing we can do is wait, trusting that no storm lasts forever.
For the last few days, we have had a lot of rain. It’s remnants of Hurricane Harvey the horrendous storm which slammed into parts of Texas earlier this week leaving devastation in its wake. Most of the morning and afternoon I have listened to the rain fall on the tin roof of our porch. It’s a mesmerizing and relaxing melody. There is a wisdom proverb which says; “Some people feel the rain other simply get wet.” I am of the former variety. I feel rain, storms, overcast skies. There are times when a rainy day is nourishment to my soul. It’s like the water falling from the sky is landing on my parched spirit and bringing needed comfort and nourishment. In other seasons the overcast clouds and rain dampen my motivation and put me in a trance where I get nothing done.
“Without rain, the flower does not grow.”
Like the flowers, trees, bushes, and grass we need rain in our lives. We need times of growth and blossoming. However, too much rain, as Houston and other Texas areas dealing with Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath, can drown, devastate, and destroy.
Rain, like life, can be beautiful and dangerous.
Another mighty storm front blew through the area this morning. Not too far from us a tornado apparently touched down and winds blew near 100 MPH. Beth and I were talking before work and I stated; “We haven’t gotten much cold weather this winter but we sure have had the winds and rain!”
Outside of our front door is a mighty Oak tree which needs to be topped. Before winter it also needed to be pruned. There were many dead limbs which needed to come down. The storms which have come through our area since November have taken care of a lot of these limbs. At one time they were in the tree, threatening to fall on someone or something of value. The winds and rain this winter have shaken them from their place and we have picked them up as they have fallen. The storms have been mighty, stoking fear a few times but they have also pruned the mighty Oak.
Storms, mighty winds, also blow through our lives shaking us to the core. They whip us around, knock us to and fro and we wonder if we’ll topple over. However, as the storms make their way through and leave us a little unnerved but alive we notice the dead limbs which were blown free.
Wisdom teaches us that storms are chaotic, frightening, and needed. Too often we surround ourselves with things which lose their value, die, and decay. These weigh us down, are unsightly and should be removed. Then comes the storms and we are thankful for their power to strip from us anything and everything that’s not alive and growing.
Grow Again –
A few weeks ago when I mowed our lawn it seemed mostly running the blades over dirt. However, the last week and a half has brought several days of much-needed rain and the grass is growing again. In less than a week since the last mow the yard needs cutting again! I am certainly not complaining. I would rather mow more often than look at brown grass and stunted plants. I don’t know if the rain will continue to fall but I am enjoying every drop that settles on the parched land.
It’s interesting how new patterns in life can emerge. For most of the summer the rain would fall around us, just a few miles away but not often at our place. Now we are enjoying being on the receiving end.
The rain is a wonderful reminder that life seems unfair when others are being “blessed” while we are merely witnesses. Though we try to be thankful for others’ gifts and favors we can’t help but wonder; “Why not us?” The answer is often elusive but patience and acceptance are the lessons learned and for these we should be thankful.
We need rain. The ground is parched and a nice drenching would quench it’s thirst. Yesterday, there was an 80% chance the sky would open up and grace the land with water from heaven. I watched several times as the sky grew dark with grey clouds, blocking out the sun, threatening to unleash a torrent only to see the potential dissipate. Not a drop was to fall all day. An 80% chance equaled 0% actuality.
I was talking with someone this week whose having a difficult time with their teenager. This parent, clearly exasperated and their wit’s end, declared to me; “She just wont communicate with me! When we’re together not a word is spoken. I’m not sure she hears a word I say.” I asked the parent; “Do you know that 80% of our communication is body language? Only 20% is words. When she’s not talking she’s still saying a lot. You’ve just got to be able hear her. It takes a different kind of listening to understand what’s being said when no words are given.” The rest of our time together we discussed ways to hear and be heard with someone who isn’t able, ready or willing to talk.
Clouds and a parent. 80% seemed like a certainty when it came to rain. Speaking being only 20% of communicating seemed like never to a parent longing to bond with a child. Percentages, statistics, probabilities can bring false assurance and disappointment. This is why wisdom teaches that we are not to anticipate, generalize or give up when the odds are stacked against us. We enter and exist in every moment with the realization that every opportunity holds possibility and promise.
This morning I awoke to the beautiful sound of rain drops pitter, pattering on the roof.
It’s been an incredibly dry summer. Several times over the last few weeks the skies threatened to open up and give what was so desperately needed only to mockingly, slowly pass by. The puddles on the ground when I went outside suggested the rain had been falling for a while and the thick humid air suggested it might stick around. As Beth was getting ready for work I stood in front of our window, pulled back the curtain and for a few moments soaked in the beauty of a rainy, stormy, Monday.
Last week, while working in the yard, I couldn’t help but notice the cracked, parched ground. The dust and dry, dying grass choked me as I searched for the few areas that needed mowing. I walked around the yard with the sound of already fallen, dead, leaves crunching under my feet. The withered, rustling limbs on the trees echoed nature’s thirst for life giving, sustaining water.
As I watched the rainwater cover the ground, fill the cracks, settle on and satiate the blades of grass, petals of flowers, shriveled fruits and vegetables I reflected on the need for slow, rainy, seasons in our personal lives. The chaos and rush of everyday living has a way of draining us dry, leaving us empty, sucking the energy, passion and mindfulness out of our bodies, emotions, minds and souls.
To have those times when recovery and renewal settle upon and satiate us is a must. Unfortunately, we often pass by these opportunities and miss meeting the desperate needs of our spirits.
“Into every life a little rain must fall.” …a blessing we should be careful not to miss.
Grace and peace,