Midwest Thunderstorms

Tuesday afternoon, the storm came rolling in across the fields.  I put my laptop (and wallet, phone, etc.) in the car, and then walked out into it to watch the rain sweep in – the cooling breeze, the fat drops, the smell of the storm… and then, it was here. falling, crashing, lighting, thunder, rain falling in huge drops that almost stung like hail, filling the world with gray and water and blessing and baptism… and I stayed out there for the next 20 minutes or so until it stopped, and I practically skipped back to the car, soaking, dripping, sopping wet.  It was glorious.

There’s a line from a Marilynne Robinson novel – “…it is easy to believe in such moments that water was made primarily for blessing, and only secondarily for growing vegetables or doing the wash…”

I felt it then. Beautiful. Life-giving. Gift. Blessing.

“Water is always an invitation to immersion [for me], an immersion with a quality of totality, since it would accept all of me, as I am…

No rain falls that I do not at once hear in the sound of the falling water an invitation to come to the wedding. It is rare that I do not answer. A walk in an evening rain in any setting is to walk in the midst of God’s loving attention to his earth, and, like a baptism, is no simple washing, but a communication of life. When you hurry in out of the rain, I hurry out into it, for it is a sign that all is well, that God loves, that good is to follow. If suffering a doubt, I find myself looking to rain as a good omen. And in rain, I always hear singing, wordless chant rising and falling…

Most people love rain, water. Snow charms all young hearts. Only when you get older and bones begin to feel dampness, when snow becomes a traffic problem and a burden in the driveway, when wet means dirt – then the poetry takes flight and God’s love play is not noted.

But I am still a child and have no desire to take on the ways of death. I shall continue to heed water’s invitation, the call of the rain.

We are in love and lovers are a little mad.

~ Matthew Kelty, Flute Solo: Reflections of a Trappist Hermit, pp. 117-19

Water

The shattering weight of summer-light pressed down and through shadowed tree covered lanes as we walked home from the cafe. Turning a corner, we saw the girl in front of us dancing through, and around, and between rainbow streams of shimmering water, spraying and spinning and spiraling. There was beauty in the interplay of light and shadow, of sprinklers and water and scintillating rainbows that scattered shards of light profligately, without regard for whom might see, or appreciate this holy symphony of movement and color.

“…it is easy to believe in such moments that water was made primarily for blessing, and only secondarily for growing vegetables or doing the wash…”

~ Marilynne Robinson – Gilead

This was one of those moments.

Leaving Neil’s house, biking down to the lake, I was struck once more by the extravagance on display – water in blues and greens, as far as the eye could see, shimmering and sparkling, evidence of grace.

Water is not only for the deserving.

Water does not only quench the thirst of the pure.

Water gives life to all, evenhandedly, without condition, without restraint.

I stopped my bike on the shore, captivated by the joyous call of the water.

Finally, unable to resist, I gave in to its siren song, leaping into the blue-green womb with abandon and laughter, over and over and over again…

Thankful.

Humbled.

Blessed.

Made new.

“…water was made primarily for blessing…”

lake michigan

just breathe…

I woke up yesterday morning to a gorgeous spring day – sunlight sloshing around the courtyard through dappled leaves, jasmine and lavender sneaking in through open windows on the playful breeze, and a few minutes of silence, stillness, and rest.  I don’t think I realized until yesterday how starved my soul was for just a few moments of quiet – this last month (all semester, if we’re being honest) have felt a little bit like this, running as fast as I can just to stay in place…  There has been little silence, and less space that is not spoken for, demanded, filled by distractions and clamorous voices calling for a moment of attention.  And ultimately, it leaves my mind rushing, fragmented, not present, grounded, or aware of what’s going on.  I miss out.  I don’t see.

So it seemed appropriate that I read this prayer in the morning, and it captured something in me:

Show to me this day
amidst life’s dark streaks of wrong and suffering
the light that endures in every person.

Dispel the confusions that cling close to my soul
that I may see with eyes washed by grace
that I may see myself and all people
with eyes cleansed by the freshness of the new day’s light.

…from Celtic Benedictions, ed. by Philip Newell

~ via Sarah Baldwin

It’s hard to hear the still small voice when there is no quiet.  It’s hard to see with grace washed eyes when my focus is the projects and plans that I have to accomplish.  It’s hard to notice the fresh new light when my gaze is focused inward.  And it’s surprisingly hard for me to step away from my to-do list and engage in purposeful, deliberate silence and rest.

But I took two hours – ran down to the lake, soaked up the sunshine, immersed myself in the blue of the sky and the waves, and gloried in movement.  I stopped at the point, climbed down on the rocks til my feet felt the chill of the water and the only sound I could hear was the lapping and splashing of the waves.  I felt the warmth of the noonday sun fill me, heard the laugh of a child chasing a puppy, and every breath was thanks, and every breath was grace.  In the midst of to-do lists, finals, work, packing, moving, saying good-byes, transitions galore, grace pours out, and every breath is a prayer of thanks to Abba Father, the author and source of all life and light.

And it was enough – enough to refill, refresh, and refocus…  enough grace for today…  enough.

Just to stop…  rest…  breathe…  be…

An Irish Blessing

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, via Dave Bayne and Prayers and Creeds

 

I wish you not a path devoid of clouds,
nor a life on a bed of roses,
not that you might never need regret,
nor that you shall never feel pain.

No, that is not my wish for you.

 

My wish for you is that you might be brave in times of trial
when others lay crosses upon your shoulders.
When mountains must be climbed
and chasms are to be crossed;
when hope scarce can shine through.

 

That every gift God gave you might grow along with you.
And let you give the gift of joy to all who care for you.
That you may always have a friend who is worth that name.
Who you can trust, and who helps you in times of sadness.
Who will defy the storms of daily life at your side.

 

One more wish I have for you:
That in every hour of joy and pain you may feel God close to you.
This is my wish for you and for all who care for you.
This is my hope for you, now and forever.