Shimmer.

They are too rowdy to be inside. They slam the door despite my repeated scoldings against it. They are full of facts and attitudes, laughter and groans, restlessness and energy. And even though I cannot help but roll my eyes and shake my head sometimes, my heart fairly explodes with love when they share a secret to keep from me, a boyish rough-and-tumble, a silly made-up game.

It’s the beginning of summer — when my oldest allows her younger sister to become her closest confident and chosen playmate for a time. The oldest will be eleven at the end of summer. These summers of play are limited, I know. And they are so beautiful in the backyard, screeching, laughing, filling up their clothes with grass stains. Their hair streaks in the sunlight and I am reminded of one of my favorite lines from Walt Witman:

“You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light, and of every moment of your life.” 

One more summer of careless childhood abandon for the older, and full on glorious golden-day summer for the younger who is finally a “big kid” at seven years old. I want to be greedy. I want these days to never end, even though both will be in here soon bickering about nothing and claiming they can’t find anything to eat in a fully stocked fridge.

And now I am filled with an urgency to get outside. To leave the laundry and the dishes and the overflowing-with-Tupperware cupboard. Because my daughters, they are in the backyard. And they are shimmering. They are shining.

Image

  

For my students

To my former students,

On Friday I went back to the school where I taught for nine years. And I got to see, once again, the faces of so many young people whom I hold fondly in my heart. I wish I could say something heartfelt and true about each and every one of you. But I could never find the words that are adequate to express my affection for you individually or collectively.

Young people often make the mistake of assuming that they have no real impact on their teachers. Not true. Regardless of what the gradebook ever said, I could never feel good about a class if I felt like I didn’t have a positive connection with them. I could never not take it personally. Maybe that’s why I took it so hard when I couldn’t reach a difficult student. That’s why your goodwill, your cooperation, your willingness to play and learn along meant so much to me. You let me do something I loved. To those of you who let me do it without complaining or judging… you gave a priceless gift for which I will always be grateful.

Some of these people may not think that I am talking about them.So, let me be clear to any who may happen to read this. If I saw you face to face on Friday, know this: You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are a powerful light in this world. And I am honored and humbled to be a part of your lives for the short time we spent together. There are a few whom I didn’t get to see, but I trust that you know that this is for you as well.

To you seniors, I can not wait to see what you will do next. I believe in you. I pray for you. I hope that all good things come to you in their time and season.

Please, for goodness sake, keep in touch.

And one last thing — Jedis > ninjas, no contest.

Much love to all of you!

“Finally brothers and sisters…think about such things”

iris

Friends, It has been so long since I have even visited this space. I came here tonight looking for a picture of me and my mom. I thought I’d take a stroll down my virtual memory lane. And friends, what I found here made me mostly sad. My goodness, what a frustrated, unhappy woman I found here. I am particularly saddened by how often I vented the frustrations of motherhood rather than express my gratitude for my daughters and all the things they are teaching me.

Looking at those old posts was like looking at the worst version of myself. I don’t mean this in a down-on-myself, fishing for reassurances kind of way. I read those posts and I saw a woman who was so burdened with guilt and shame that it made my heart cringe. Worse, even, than looking at old pictures of myself in junior high. Yikes. Maybe, if you’ve been around here awhile, you saw something different when you read my posts. I hope so. I know it wasn’t all negative. It’s just that when I read those happy posts, I remember how fleeting those moments of happiness were. How the frustration and guilt and worry were the constant. I am happy to say that this is no longer the case.

For that reason, I feel like it is important to make a change, so, I’ve renamed this blog.

Phillipians 4:8 has been rattling around in my head for a few months now, and I’ve been looking for a way to integrate it more into my life. What I post here will not be all sunshine and happiness, because I have found real peace and beauty on my way to the other side of pain, but I’m not done yet. I have so much to share with you. So many good and difficult and wonderful and painful and freeing and hopeful things. I don’t know if I’ll give much backstory or if I’ll just pick up where I am and let that big blank stay there. I was tempted to start a whole new blog. To metaphorically sweep all that old bitterness under the virtual rug and let it go to the place where neglected blogs die. But I decided that if nothing else, it’s good to know where we come from.

Perhaps by leaving the entire record here, anyone who cares to read it–past, present, or future–might have an understanding of why I celebrate what others might see as brokenness. Somehow I feel like my version of true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy is more intact if I leave it all here.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Phillipians 4:8

On having responsible discourse — Part 1 of possibly many.

Lesson 1: Waiting is just as much a part of making a good point as choosing the exact words to make your best point. You do not need to point out the fact that you disagree with someone the moment you discover the disagreement.

Keep listening. Maybe this person has facts that you never knew or points you’ve never considered that shed light on your own position. These facts or points may open up areas of agreement between you that were not immediately present when the point of contention was first raised. Thus, agreement grows and disagreement shrinks, and you didn’t even have to say a word.

Ask questions. Actively look for the common ground before you go telling the person how wrong they are. Otherwise he or she is simply going to return the favor.

Sometimes people just aren’t ready to listen. Sometimes people simply can not consider an opposing point of view because they are to impassioned, or too hurt, or too wronged. Consider that someone who has the same opinion as you, but less sensitive than you, may have come before and was too forceful and too personal with their arguments. You must listen carefully to determine if the person is even ready to hear what you have to say.

Invest in the whole person for awhile. This means you may not get to bring up your point of view for awhile — as in days, weeks, months, or years. If he or she knows that you care about them, s/he will be far more likely to listen to your differing point-of-view. If you assert your point too soon, they may perceive that you do not care about them, and that what you want is to win a debate. Which leads me to my final point…

If all you want is to win a debate, then be honest, say so, and go to the people who are willing and knowingly entering the rhetorical boxing ring with you and go a few rounds. It’s not fair to punch someone who isn’t in the ring. Don’t enter into a dialogue under the guise of helping someone or trying to understand the other side if what you really want is to flex your rhetoric and debate muscles.

Now, in the words of the wise Rufus from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, go out there and “be excellent to each other.”

Smoke-out September

I should have just stopped today with the ham and beans.

I’ve got this plan to make Sundays slow-cooker, comfort food days. Today’s meal was ham and beans. (I love beans! Woo Woo Woo!) Aaaaanyway, I woke up reasonably early for a Sunday and after the prerequisite coffee/wake up, I started throwing everything into the crock pot. Miss G drifted in and asked for Doritos for breakfast. Of course she does! And I thought about it, but I said no. Of course I did. I recommended cinnamon rolls instead… just as soon as I was done getting everything going.

So, having all the ingredients in, I put the lid on, set the dial on “low,” and then took a few minutes to skim a magazine and have more coffee before starting on the cinnamon rolls. Twenty minutes later I thought it was odd that there was no condensation or fog on the crock pot lid. Yours-Genius-Truly here, rinsed and chopped, and seasoned and chopped some more, and set the dial and pushed it back from the edge of the counter so no little hands would get burned, and even rinsed and put away the knives, but forgot to plug the darn crock pot in. Luckily I only lost about 25 minutes. That was my first mishap of the day.

I turned on the oven to preheat it so I could make my beautiful children my fresh, homemade, straight-out-of-the cardboard roll cinnamon rolls. Immediately I smell that smell that can best be described as “oven.” You know, that smell of burnt pizza crust and cheese that no longer smells like food…just the chemical reaction of something being turned to nitrogen as it fries on the bottom of your oven. Of course you do. Don’t even act like you don’t know that smell.

This slight burnt smell is completely normal when I bake because I’m not all Martha Stewart up in here. So I didn’t think anything of it. Until the smell got really strong and all of a sudden I’m coughing. I turn around and my oven is churning out gray smoke like it’s on fire (it wasn’t) and smoke already filled the kitchen and my eyes are burning. Then I remember the meatloaf debacle on Thursday. The meatloaf was very tasty. It’s just that I overfilled the dish and lot of juices ended up on the oven bottom when I tried to get the dish out of the oven. I had forgotten to clean it up. Now, all that juice was converting into acidic smoke and it was billowing out into my house.

We have a pretty little house, so it didn’t take long for it to fill up the living room, too. The amount of liquid that was spilled on the bottom could not have been more than a quarter to half a cup, but the smoke was so thick and so bad that the girls felt in necessary to crawl around from room to room on their hands and knees and call out, “There’s good air down here, Mom!” Thaaaaanks, kids.

Meanwhile I’m running around opening up every single window, and desperately trying to get the batteries out of all the smoke detectors because John was still sleeping. (Sidenote here to say that he was miserable with sinus problems all day yesterday. Every time he sneezed, which was about eleventy-hundred, he had to brace his neck to keep it from jarring too much.) Since I am a wonderful and thoughtful wife, I didn’t want him to wake up to choking smoke, which, by the way, had made it downstairs to where he was sleeping. So I quickly started bringing up all the fans I can find and strategically positioned them in various places so as to circulate the smoke out and fresh air in.

Meanwhile my children were running in and out of the house and made sure that our neighbors knew all about it. Which was probably wise because I could smell the smoke several feet from the house, so they probably knew something was up.

So, all’s well that ends well. The smoke was pretty well cleared out within 30 minutes or so. And by the time John got up an hour later, he said he could smell something, but that it didn’t seem smoky.

And my kids totally ate those cinnamon rolls. They didn’t taste bad at all! I’m not sure how that’s even possible. I should have stopped with the ham and beans, though. Come to think of it, I should have stopped with the meatloaf.

Here’s hoping that Monday is better. Take care everybody!

Be good to yourself.

I used to ache on days like today when I had to go inside. Even though I liked being with my students, there was most definitely a kernel of resentment at having to miss a glorious day such as today was. I frequently gave my students homework to go outside and play for a minimum of 30 minutes. I taught high school, mind you. On the occasional day when I had to take a personal day or a sick day, and the weather was nice, and I needed to get out of the house, I felt so guilty–like I wasn’t supposed to be in a world in which I knew in my soul I belonged. I couldn’t enjoy it fully, because I was supposed to be somewhere else.

And speaking of being somewhere else–I was never fully present. I couldn’t ever just be with my children or husband. They never got my best…just what I had left over at the end of the day–which wasn’t much. My poor husband, I’m sorry to say, did not have much of a helper in me. Don’t get me wrong, we are great partners in running a household. But, I wasn’t very good about helping him.

But that was then.

Today I was positively blissful at 10:50 this morning when I got to sit out in the sunshine and enjoy this fountain on this perfect fall day. What’s better is that I wasn’t “stealing” time or “taking time for myself.” No, I was actually taking care of my husband by waiting for him as he finished his physical therapy. He is still not cleared to drive after his neck surgery, and as his chauffer, it was my good luck to have this beautiful view while I waited. He also can’t carry a gallon of milk anywhere, pick up our cat, load the dishwasher or empty it, take out the garbage, or change bedsheets.

Contrary to popular belief, we do need help taking care of ourselves sometimes. And I’m not just referring to post-surgery, physical care. Sometimes we need help to simply be good to ourselves. We are not built to make it totally on our own. Most of us who try end up feeling some kind of profound sadness, even in the midst of seeming success. Yet society tells us that gentleness, particularly the need for gentleness, is weakness. If you want to be kind, well, that’s your business. But good heavens, don’t be vulnerable.

I’ve been wanting to update you on what’s been going on, what God is doing in my life, how He has been walking with me, drawing me closer and closer to Him, what I’m learning about myself, but most importantly, what I’m learning about Him. The truth is, I’m not really sure I can explain. So much has happened in the past four months. So, I’ll just leave it at this:

I used to ache to be inside on days like today. On this day, I sat outside with absolutely no place I was supposed to be. I used to feel bad that I wasn’t better helper to my husband. On this day and for the past month, I  have been able to be by his side helping him with whatever he needed, taking him wherever he needed to go. I used to have to muster up all the reserves of my patience and energy to help the girls through their homework. Now I positively look forward to picking them up from school.

What I am learning is that it is okay for me to be good myself.

It is okay for you to be good to yourself.

I won’t lie. It gets tough sometimes. Our financial situation is getting pretty…interesting. That’s the word I’ve been using. To be even more truthful, sometimes I’m just plain scared and worried. But just when I start to slip back into my old, bad habits of beating myself up over the situation, He sends me someone that helps me to be good to myself. Helps me to remember that just when we feel most in control is when we are most in danger. That when we are trusting Him to come through because we honestly. can. not. see. a. way. out., that is when we are on the safest ground.

I wish I had the eloquent words to share with you how I know–deep in my bones–the truth of this. I promise that from now on I’ll try to let you in on the day-to-day of what’s happening and what He is teaching me. I know this is not polished… maybe not even all that cohesive.

I just feel very strongly that somebody out there needs to know that He knows what you need, even better than you do. This I know from experience. He wants you to rely on Him. Baby steps are ok. And He wants you to be good to yourself. He really really does.

Chik-Fil-A

It’s a tricky and fallen world we live in. When I get a craving for a taco (or a chicken sandwich and waffle fries)–it would be nice if I didn’t have to worry that the profit from my business was going to support something I strongly oppose. But good luck with that! Anytime I buy anything, part of that money is going to support something I don’t agree with/condone/support/etc. If I hold to the standard that every company I support with my purchasing power must align with all of my convictions and beliefs, then I’ll never buy anything again. So, what’s a girl with $3 and a taco craving to do?

I could look at it this way: I want a taco. There’s a restaurant that has tacos. I give them money, they give me that taco. Once that exchange is made, the money is no longer mine and the taco is no longer theirs. They can do with that money whatever they wish, and Imma eat that taco! That, friends, is consumerism at its finest. They have something I want, I have the cash. The exchange is made, no strings attached. They prosper from my money, and my belly prospers (more than what I’d care to admit) from their tasty tasty tacos.

Ooh, but is it really that simple? Unfortunately, no.

When I spend my money, and when you spend yours, it goes to all kinds of places and activities we would not contribute directly to if given the choice. That antibiotic I bought for my kid last month? And the migraine medicine you might have bought a few weeks ago? The drug company that produce those medicines are supporting and utilizing stem-cell research. There’s a lot of misinformation about stem-cell research, folks. Did you know that scientists can do stem-cell research using skin from a live, human hand or from tissues taken from the heart or liver? In other words, there is no harm to a fetus anywhere in the process. Oh, well, that’s not so bad, is it? But how do I know that (what was once) my money is going to the okay kind of research as opposed to the not-okay kind? I don’t. And, really, last month when my kid was sick and hacking her head off in the middle of the night and was generally miserable, did I even care about where the money went, or did I just want my baby to feel better? No. And I’d make the same decision over and over again. Why? Because I am a better parent than activist, and rightly so.

But what if it’s even more complicated than that? What if it’s not just a few pennies (of what was once my money) going to a mega-million dollar lobby toward an issue which I’m not certain I completely and fully understand the science behind, anyway. What if the taco company’s founder has opinions that I disagree with, but I recognize that he has done a lot of good work to help his community and disadvantaged people? Do I withhold my money from his company based on his opinions, despite all of his honorable actions? What if the company, not (I repeat, NOT) the man, gave a measly $1,000 to a group that has put out some extremely biased and discriminatory information that I strongly disagree with. A group whose “research” is tainted with their bias and is likely not up to academic nor scientific standards. If I keep getting my tacos there, I am indirectly supporting someone else to put out a message that I fundamentally, deep down in my marrow, disagree with in the strongest possible terms. But if I stop getting my tacos there, it also means that I no longer support the man who founded the company, who holds some opinions with which I disagree, but also who uses his own money to do things that I definitely admire.

Well, I could say that my measly $3 in tacos isn’t going to make a big difference one way or the other. This is true. But is that really the point? What if there are a million others like me who are trying to sort this thing out, too? Or even just, say, 150,000 others. Do we all get a free pass to stop thinking about this issue because our $3 doesn’t amount to much? When you put our $450,000 together, that makes a pretty big statement. So, back into the hot seat I go.

I don’t want to sound naïve and skirt the issue by suggesting that what we really need, rather than boycotts and rallies, is a “Cumbaya” moment where we all get together, talk about our feelings, and maybe share some tacos. Money is power. But you know what else is power? Our words. Our actions. Our compassion. It’s so much easier, isn’t it, to drive through the Chik-fil-a and grab a $3 sandwich to show support for Dan Cathy and his right to speak his convictions. Or, it’s so much easier, isn’t it, to stay at home and boycott Chik-fil-a because of their financial support of the Family Research Council, which has said some horrible things about homosexuals that have had detrimental effects on real people and their families. To buy a sandwich or not by a sandwich?

Boy, if it were only that easy.

What is harder, much harder, is to reach out to friends or family members who seem to sit on the opposite side of the issue from where I am and straight-up ask them what their position is. So here is my challenge to myself and to anybody else who wants to accept it, regardless of where you or I are, whether we agree or disagree, on this issue:

Assume nothing. Ask someone with whom we disagree–with the sincere desire to understand them and their convictions—what they think and why they think it. Put our own convictions and opinions out there for others to challenge. If you, like me, have a personal connection to or experience with this issue, talk about it. Let us not be afraid to talk about our gay parents/children/siblings/cousins/nieces/nephews/aunts/uncles/friends/neighbors/teachers/co-workers. Don’t flatten the issue—complicate it. Don’t be afraid to reach out in order to better understand.

I believe that in this dialogue, most of us will find that that the convictions of others mostly come from a place of well-meaning. Disagreement is extremely uncomfortable to me, but we need to dwell in the uncertainty between the multiple sides of this issue. We can strongly disagree and still avoid condemnation and judgment. We can still acknowledge and lift up the best in each other. We can listen. We can be humble. We can still serve our Lord together, despite the fact that we disagree. When we do this, we become better parents/children/siblings/cousins/nieces/nephews/aunts/uncles/friends/neighbors/teachers/co-workers, and more importantly, better Christ followers. We become bigger than the issue and we start to exhibit that love and unity that sets His people apart from all the others. We can hold on to our opinions and convictions as long as we hold our love for Him, and by extension His love for others, tighter.

This, and not boycotts nor rallies, is what is sorely needed. And for pete’s sake, let us not allow the politicians, the pundits, and the talking heads to speak for us. No disrespect intended, but I can not speak from my own heart with someone else’s mouth, and neither can you. We need to drown out the mega-phone voices, turn off the television and radios, get into our quiet spaces, and pray. Discover what the Spirit is saying to our hearts. Then, speak it in love and do not be surprised or offended if we still disagree. We are, after all, fallen sinners. We must trust that we are all doing our best.

The fact of the matter is my friends and family who supported Chik-Fil-A by buying a chicken sandwich today will not feel any differently because I did not. Nor, did their decision to do so have any real impact on me. We took our positions today, and the heartache over the GLBT issue will continue. Our money and our alliances do nothing, nothing at all, to reconcile us or even help us to understand each other. And I concede that some people have taken their positions on Chik-fil-a after a lot of thought and prayer. That’s great. But the hard work, the real transformative power of our convictions and beliefs comes from the dialogue, the walking it out and talking it out, the relationship. Just like our walk with Jesus.

If we let our money and alliances do all the talking, somewhere down the line we’d be saying all kinds of things we would never utter with our mouths. If we really want to be like Jesus, it’s better that we all do our own talking.

Jesus is not Kanye West.

I always imagine Jesus as kind of like a rock star.

Here you have this famous person who can do things that nobody else can, and the word has got out. Naturally, people flock to see Him. He is constantly surrounded by all kinds of people. They press upon Him, asking for healing or blessing or just a word of teaching. People will take anything He offers and still want more. They just want to be near Him.

His disciples, a decent sized entourage in and of themselves, are with Him, trying to manage the crowd. If someone wanted to speak to Jesus, it must have been difficult to even get in front of Him. The woman cursed with bleeding knew she could only hope to touch his cloak. Zaccheus had to climb a tree just to get a glimpse of Him. I’m sure Jesus was aware of the commotion surrounding Him, and how desperate people were for His attention. He knew that no matter how many people He healed, more could come. No matter how much he taught, people would keep following to keep listening.

The more He gives, the larger the crowd grows, and more people line up to be healed. And the more people see these miracles, the word spreads to the edges of the crowd; brothers nudge their sisters toward the Healer. Fathers pick up their sons and carry them forward to Jesus. I imagine that after a few hours of people stepping forward, Jesus’ human body would begin to grow weary, or hungry, or he was ready to go to the next place, or, you know, maybe He needed to go to the bathroom. At some point, wouldn’t it have been easier for him to touch a shoulder and the healing would be instataneous? Touch a forehead and disordered thinking is banished. Touch a cheek and hearing is restored. Touch a back and a spine is straightened. At some point I can see Him handing out these healings quickly, just to get through the crowd and be able to move on to the next without giving much regard to who he was healing. Much like a celebrity signing autographs.

But Jesus was not a rock star.

Matthew 8 shows a much different Jesus than what I imagine. The scripture says that Jesus had a large crowd following him and a leper knelt before Him and said, “Lord if you are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and said, “I am willing; be made clean.”

I am willing. Jesus could have healed the leper without a word. He could have told the man to take an offering to the temple and ask for healing there. He could have simply passed the man by. What he did, though, was affirm the man’s spirit and dignity. I am willing. What kind of thrill was it for the leper to hear those words? “I am willing; be made clean.” The healing happened in a moment, but the affirmation, I am willing, stays with the healed man for a lifetime. For the rest of his life, the man gets to tell his friends about the time when Jesus looked him in the eye and said, “I am willing; be made clean.” Wow. Can you imagine?

But that’s not the only way that Jesus challenges my celebrity image. Matthew 8 tells the story of a centurian at Capernaum who told Jesus about a servant who was suffering. “I will come to him,” Jesus said. This is so significant. Here is the Son of God, who has so much teaching and healing and ministry to do that people are waiting for Him pretty much everywhere He goes. Here is a man who is so sought after, He often times can’t even find a quiet place for His disciples and himself to rest. When the centurion told Jesus about his servant’s suffering, I’m sure there were people all around Him waiting, thinking “Get in line, dude.” Yet, here is Jesus telling the centurion, I will come to him.

He was not too busy. He was not too important. Jesus did not dispatch one of His disciples to go see about this servant, though he could have. He heard about the servant’s agony and his response was, I will come to him. The scripture goes on to say that the centurian said that Jesus did not have to go to the servant. He could speak the words and the servant would be healed. Jesus was impressed by the centurion’s faith, and the servant was healed.

Then Jesus went to the home of Peter. While there, Jesus saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. It struck me as interesting that Peter, who by this time has seen Jesus perform healing after healing, does not ask Jesus to cure his mother-in-law. Or, maybe he did and the scripture just doesn’t include that detail. Matthew writes that Jesus saw her lying in bed, and He touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then she got up and served Him.

Sometimes people are healed because they present themselves before the Lord. Sometimes they are healed because someone else presents their need to the Lord. Sometimes the Lord comes to us in our suffering with no plea from ourselves or others. But what does not change is that He is willing. He will come to us.

I’ll be honest. I have been waiting for healing for my husband for a very long time. I’ve wondered what the hold-up is. I’ve considered whether Jesus was off doing more noteworthy things like curing a child of a terminal disease or delivering a starving, oppressed people from a violent regime. Those things are important and miraculous. But Jesus is not a celebrity who is too busy. And when it happens is not nearly as important as that it does happen. Last time I checked, none of the people who receiving healing looked at Jesus and said, “What took you so long?” He is not going to absentmindedly put His hand on my husband and heal him as He passes by just to get him out of His way. He is going look John fully in the face, considering the whole of who he is and His love for him, and He is going to say, I am willing.

And, friend, He will do it for you, too.

Rain.

Image

It had been at least 42 days since it had rained. I don’t know if that was a record, because I’m kind of a take-the-weather-as-it-comes kind of girl. But I can tell you that in the past six-week draught, my yard not only yielded its green, but took on the smell of stale straw–a marked absence of sweetness and softness. And while I don’t really think much about the weather, my soul and body are another matter completely.

It had been overcast all day. Driving home, my husband complained that every place north, south, east, and west has had rain, but not us. Today would be no different, he said. His pessimism annoyed me. The clouds were soupy and nothing was casting shadows. I had only just begun to hope.  I gently suggested that we should be thankful that our livlihoods are not directly dependent upon the rain.

And so, a few hours later, when I glanced out our front door to see a few spots dotting the front porch, it seemed reasonable to feel just a little bit delighted. Finally. The rain made it to us. Of course, I knew it eventually would, but the wait was long. And my body and my soul and my yard are just so thirsty. And hot. And I’ve been waiting without realizing I was waiting. And maybe, just maybe, the waiting is worse than the thirst and the heat.

***

There is suspended emotion for which there is a weight in my heart, but no person, place, time, or memory upon which to attach it. In the rain, that suspended emotion is no longer homeless. In the rain, the ambiguity makes sense. Everyday, we pour our lives into the universe. Our life forces evaporate into the atmosphere, but we never disappear. They collect in the streams of our lifetimes, which are but tributaries to the rivers of family histories, and eventually lead to oceans of human experience.

But sometimes we return to ourselves. Sometimes as condensation on a glass, when an old memory captures the light and changes how we see the here and now.  Sometimes as a deluge, when past decisions and circumstances force us from our comfortable places. And sometimes, as rain. Rain returns to us that which is least explainable yet most fundamental in ourselves. Neither an incidental residue nor a major reckoning of the past, rain is what we give to the universe that returns and beckons us to consider what is mysterious and eternal within us. Yet so often, we try to shelter ourselves from it.

I had been waiting upon this rain without realizing how much I had been yearning for it. And so, when it arrived with its perfume and song, something in my primal soul rejoiced, and rejoices still. I stepped into it, letting it soak me utterly as my skin tingled, and my muscles relaxed, and my hair soaked, and my eyes closed, and my lungs breathed, and my heart beat, and my lips smiled. The sweetness and softness of my little world returned.

In the rain, our misty vapors rise again. Ever ambiguous. Ever etheral. Always returning. Always rejoicing.