Rain and deeper roots
As often happens here in the South, we are in a period of drought. All the warmth and sunshine of this past winter has led to more warm and sunshine this spring and added up to lack of needed precipitation. Despite the beauty of the Carolina Sky during the past few days, I have often gazed up into the mostly cloudless skies and pleaded for rain.
I suspect that I am one of precious few people who is glad when the forecast calls for rain, especially two or three days of rain in a row. (May it be so, Lord. May it be so!)
Like so many of us, the trees are often deceiving. Their leaves are broad and green these days, providing shade for passersby and picnickers. They appear strong and steady, ready to face all storms, having easily withstood all that has come before. But their roots are spreading out, desperately seeking moisture. They are vulnerable to strong winds, to fire, and to illness and death due to the lack of water.
I am guilty of attempting to project a similar invincibility. Who me? Storms? What storms? See this smile? See these airy, upbeat blog posts? I'm fine. I'm just fine. What disagreements? What escape fantasies? Who me? I'm fine. I'm just fine. What financial fears and worries? Getting my children into college? Me, worry about homeschooling, maintaining with this aging house and this aging body? Who me? Not me. I'm fine. All is well.
There have been many fierce storms through the area of late, even though the sky is cloudless at the moment. Just ask the folks trying to get payments from suddenly silent insurance companies, the same companies that promised, "Yes, we cover that." Ask the folks who lost loved ones when the car was struck by a falling tree or a bedroom was crushed by a falling roof. Ask the people who had no insurance at all, who lost their homes and beloved family members; ask them about storm damage, weak foundations, and leaky roofs.
Many of the storms that have blown through my life and the lives of many people I love have been named storms - Anxiety, Apathy, Bipolar Disorder, Cancer, Despair, Divorce, Exasperation, Exhaustion, Fear, Hunger, Job Loss, Lack of health insurance, Loneliness, Long Term Joblessness, Neglect, Sending Children to College, Suicide Attempts, and Surgery - to name a few. Other storms have been unspoken and unnamed, but their effects have been devastating nonetheless.
One of my new favorite bloggers recently reminded me that all is not always well, love doesn't always win, and the life is not always good. I knew that already, but she expressed it far better than I have here.
As calm as things may appear on the surface, as beautiful as the days may be, we are in a drought. We are thirsty, hungry, lonely, in pain, wondering how we will pay the bills, survive the marriage, and help our anxious, lonely, hungry, thirsty family members, friends, neighbors, and children when we barely know how to meet our own needs.
What I long for, what I pray for is relief. Reprieve. Rest. Redemption. Rain.
And deeper, stronger, well-watered roots.
For all of us. For all people everywhere.
Lord, you are a present help in trouble.
In our darkness come as light
In our sadness come as joy
In our troubles come as peace
In our weakness come as strength
Come Lord to our aid
Open our eyes to your presence
Open our minds to your grace
Open our lips to your praises
Open our hearts to your love
Open our lives to your healing
And be found among us.
-David Adam, The Book of a Thousand Prayers