Reflections on the Rain

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It’s raining today.

A sort of slow, damp drizzle-not so different from the fog that hangs in the bathroom after a warm shower. The sky has a greyish pall, not unpleasant or foreboding, but filled with the promise of more moisture to come. How unfortunate, that we have decided as a society to paint the color grey as lifeless and neutral! Today’s grey speaks. Today’s grey clouds all filled to bursting with the life that is water. Today’s grey is shot through with streaks of blue and white. As the wind shuffles through, shafts of yellow and orange peek through the canopy.

There is a story (perhaps apocryphal) that the northern peoples of this country have over fifty words for snow. Many have marveled at this fact. Many have lamented our own limitations in explaining the excretions of our earth. Perhaps it is because our northern brethren rely so much on the snow. A thick, blinding snow can spell certain death for the isolated, while gentle snow is little more than a soothing caress. We, the city-bound North Americans, care little for the nuances of nature. Perhaps enough to lament in passing, “Sure is cold! Sure is wet! Can’t wait to see the sun again.” What is this meteorological illiteracy that has taken hold of us! Lightning cracks the sky in half, water plunges hundreds of meters to smash the terra firma, the wind slices like a razor, and we simply comment, “Boy, some weather huh?”

Other cultures are not so bankrupt. I remember fondly traveling among the Luhya tribes of Kenya. Their land was often parched and peeling; red-soil bereft of any precipitation. Every downpour, no matter the size, did not go by unremarked. Each was a divine event; the hand of God reaching from heaven to caress His earth. The tribesmen and women would comment, without irony and in all sincerity, “Truly, every time it rains is a sign that the Lord is answering prayer. Open your eyes and see! Every drop is His mercy. Every drop His grace.” Would the that we, the disenchanted, the skeptical, the disillusioned, would reclaim such vision!

Seventy-one percent of the earth’s surface is covered in water. Sixty percent of the human body is water, and we can only live a few days without hydration. These facts are blunt, common knowledge. But they point us to an indissoluble truth: water is all around us. Water is life. When the sky deigns to weep upon us, when God decides to release His floodgates, we should respond with reverence. On our knees, we ought to look to the clouds and cry, “Praise the Lord! Life has fallen upon us from on high. Praise God for His provision! Praise Him for His great creation!”

The skeptic thumbs his nose and screeches, “What proof is there of a beneficent creator? Show us the proof!” This he demands, and the rain continues to fall. The time-weathered Christian won’t even lift her head, lost in the demands and stresses of the moment. I ask, is there a difference between the two? Both open the door to the majesty of God filling the very air around them. The rain falls on them both. And both are too blinded to take in God’s million whispers, heard in a million raindrops.

I write this from a dry coffeeshop. The rain has settled, for the moment. The air is clean and still. The voltage of a storm to come hangs heavy in space. At any moment, the ceiling will split and the inundation will commence. Anticipation fills my heart, and perhaps the hearts of my fellow caffeine addicts. Perhaps they too can feel the import of coming events. Perhaps they will see the face of God in the rain, as I do. Perhaps they will dance in the puddles, seeing the great truth, that this world is alive with magic.

Every time another patron enters, my lungs are filled with frigid oxygen. My hair stands on end. I have no sweater, no jacket. This is not a problem. I want to feel it all. I want to absorb the essence of the coming storm through my skin. Why should I hide away from it? Maybe, when I am drenched to the bone, when every millimeter is damp, when I have lost myself to the rain, perhaps then I shall be one step closer to this earth. Perhaps I shall be one step closer to the storm. And then, I shall be one step closer to God.

Looks like the storm has begun.