Like many people, I am growing weary of this year’s seemingly endless winter. I have found myself thinking longingly about warm, springtime rain or even the downpours and thunderstorms that break through long, hot spells of summer. As I was thinking fondly about rain this evening, I thought about several memorable rain events that have quenched my parched spirit.
First, I remembered the pounding Midwest rain that would pour through during the summer. Our back alley would fill with puddles, and my daughter and I would go out back with her rain boots on and splash and laugh until she was soaked. One time, when I needed to travel for work when she was still very young, my spouse filmed a little video with her toddling around in frog boots stomping in all the puddles, set to the music of “Singing in the Rain.” I brought this with me to the conference on a DVD that I played endlessly on my laptop in my room, keeping me company whenever my maternal homesickness kicked in. That rain-water was a gift of joy, childhood, splashing laughter and memory.
Another vivid memory of rain was with my daughter while we were on a church retreat together at Shrinemont, our diocesan vintage camp nestled in Virginia’s gorgeous mountains. It was the first year we attended what has become an annual “Girls Weekend” for us. It poured rain on the mountain, and we chased the streams of water running down the hills and floated home-made “rafts” made of milk containers, coffee stirrers, and sweetener packet sails down the rivers and streams the rains created. While it was pouring rain, we sketched indoors and read books. We walked to the youth group’s service in the rain, hiding out under a shelter near the outdoor shrine while we sang songs to drown out the thunder. We didn’t pack enough clothes for rain and water play that first weekend, and ended up driving home in pajamas…our only remaining dry clothing! We now pack like pros, usually dragging far more than we will actually need. That living water gave us a chance to bond, to make memories, to forge a special time together and within our faith community that has taken on new and deeper meaning for us each year.
The last rain memory that lingers with me tonight is a solitary one. It was late last summer, and a storm had been brewing all evening. The stifling heat had gotten to me and while my household slept, I wandered. I sat outside on my patio and began to see the flashes of lightening and hear the peals of thunder in the distance. I sat and felt the rain begin to fall. I had been holding back tears for days, fighting a myriad of emotions. I needed to feel the rain, to let my tears fall and mix with the raindrops. I just craved the solitude between myself and God. The rest of the world could sleep in oblivion; this was not about them. I craved an emotional outpouring and the feeling of my singularity being completely subsumed by the outpouring of nature’s living waters. It was a contemplative prayer of my soul, those tears mixed with raindrops. The rain subsided, and I took with me a deep calm that changed me, that reminded me that All Will Be Well. It is always amazing when and where we encounter Divine Presence, and that is surely a memorable moment.
Rain. Living Water. Holy Water of nature, pouring out to touch my soul. Tonight’s small point of light.