Dry Earth

raindrops leaf

The rain began on Sunday and it hasn’t stopped. While Saturday was bright, sunny, and warm, Sunday dawned cloudy, and by afternoon torrential rain was falling. The temperature dropped by 30 degrees.

The earth was dry and parched. Large blotches of brown grass began filling up the spring lawns in city parks and outside suburban homes. The earth is drinking in this rain like it is dying. It can’t get enough. There are barely puddles because the ground is absorbing it so quickly.

While I don’t like the wet and cold, we need the rain desperately. The earth begs for it.

I think about dry earth and I think about dry souls; how one needs water and the other living water. I see the earth respond to the rain and when the sun comes again we will see sunlight sparkling off brilliant colors.

I have had many times when my soul has been like the dry earth, desperate for rain. Souls dry faster and take longer to water than the earth, partly because the one with the soul doesn’t always see the need.

My soul has been dry lately. I go to pray and I struggle with concentration. I go to read the Bible, and the words blur before tired eyes. Yes – my soul has been dry. The difference between the earth needing rain and my soul needing living water is this: the earth must wait for the rain. It can’t produce it, no dance before the gods will make it rain. Since the beginning of time we humans have tried to manipulate the heavens into doing what we want, into giving us what we desperately need. But it doesn’t work that way. It rains when it rains and no amount of sacrifice will change that.

But living water for the soul? That is readily available. It is in the prayers said through the centuries; it is in the Bible, whether it be leather or cloth bound, large print or red-letter edition. It is in the fellowship of the saints, it is in the Church. This living water is available – but it also takes action on my part. It takes recognition of the dry and willingness to go to the source of water.

So as I trudge through the streets, trying to guard my face against pelting rain, I think of these things. I think of the dry earth, even now soaking up the blessed rain. I think of how redemptive rain is to this earth, saving it from drought. And I pray for my dry soul, that I will be willing to go to the source where there is abundant and redemptive living water. And I pray that as my soul drinks in that water, it will sparkle with brilliant colors from the Son.

Photo Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/drops-of-water-raspberry-leaf-green-352435/

Waiting it Out….

I woke to brilliant sunshine reflecting off piles of snow. It’s hard to believe that 24 hours ago we were in the middle of a blizzard, snow coming down at two inches an hour.

But that’s how storms are. When you’re in the middle of them, you think they’ll never end.

The snow was slow in coming. At first light Friday I looked out my window and there was nothing but a hush and the ominous grey look of a storm yet to come. The morning was well underway when it picked up; medium size flakes, whirling around, slowly sticking to the cold ground.

Since Wednesday afternoon I had heard about what could be the “storm of the century”. With an already full refrigerator, matches, candles, Boggle, Bananagrams, and several one thousand piece puzzles, we had little to prepare — we were ready to wait it out.

And wait we did. I baked bread. Then I baked cookies. Then we did a puzzle. Then we played games. Then we watched movies. Then we played more games. And all the while we would periodically look out the window and comment on the storm.

But restlessness sinks in. Realization of the aftermath begins to accumulate. The ‘What ifs’ start pounding on the door. We begin to fray at the edges.

So we baked, read, watched movies, played games again. And again.

With storms there’s a lot of waiting.

How do you wait out a storm? How do you fill the empty space and empty time so the restlessness does not overpower?

Storms of the mind and soul are more difficult than storms of the weather. There are empty spaces, empty time, churning thoughts. And it’s during empty space that my mind can twist truth, empty time that my soul can turn sour.

While the tools of a weather storm are food, candles, matches, flashlights, full tank of gas, water, easily prepared foods – how can one prepare for storms of the soul? Walk through the storm without the mind going crazy with worry and fear?

What are the tools of soul storms?

Tears, Truth, and Time. Tears – those housekeepers of the soul that help us release fear and anxiety; truth – sharp piercing messages from the word of God that both sting and comfort; time – waiting it out, baking, reading, living through it even when you’re fraying at the edges – all those things that you do during a weather storm.

And one day we wake to brilliant sunshine, clarity, peace — the soul storm is over and it’s hard to believe that 24 hours before the soul was dark, swirling with turmoil.

Because that’s how soul storms are. When you’re in the middle of them, you think they’ll never end.

During the Storm
Blizzard 2013, Boston
After the Storm