As part of my normal morning ritual, after rising, I pour a nice cup of coffee, and then check various electronic devices to see what I had missed overnight in terms of the world’s goings-on. Perhaps the most important site I log on to is our local weather, to check the forecast by the day and by the hour. On this first day of our long 4th of July weekend, we plan to have a hot sunny day today, and then the thunderstorms slide in for tonight, for all of Independence Day, and into Sunday. The folks at the lakes in Minnesota, where most everyone from Fargo spends their summer weekends, will not be happy about the forecast. I, however, couldn’t be more pleased. Here’s why:
When I was little, I expected it not to rain from the day we picked up our report cards on the last day of school until we glumly had to head back to school about three months later. Summer was supposed to hot, and sunny and void of even a single drop of precipitation. Rain just got it the way of running all over the neighborhood, or sleeping out in the side yard under the stars, or playing at the massive sandpile under the pines at the end of the street. When it rained, I was locked inside our home with two brothers who would pick on me, and four sisters who were constantly in the way. Plus, when we were trapped inside, Mom would find all sorts of things that needed cleaning or straightening or dusting. Forced labor, when my heart and soul yearned to run outside, with no cares on a summer day.
Now that I am … older, however, my perspective on rain is far different. In June this year, for instance, we engaged some folks to renovate our perennial garden in the back yard, and to pull out some overgrown and ugly evergreen shrubs, and redo the edging around the entire house, including planting some new lilacs and such. We also patched up some areas that had been de-sodded by the blades of the snowplow that cleaned our driveway last winter. It was just a real nice fixer-upper, and between the new and transplanted plants, and the seeded edges, it looked like a new landscape! Unfortunately, it was also a landscape that kept sending drink orders to our kitchen, telling us how thirsty it was, and how much water it would need to survive… I am glad that we live in a home with an underground sprinkler system, so that my only work to water the yard is to press “on,” and for the next number of hours, those thirsty plants get soaked and stand up straight and smile at us. However, as much as I want to believe that water is a gift of God to our earth, totally free, the delivery system is not. In those periods of time when it is necessary to water the yard, our water bill jumps at least double and sometimes triple of what we have to pay in the bleak cold, non-thirsty winter, when everything is asleep. When you add new plants, new grass and near record heat that began the day everything was planted this year, it takes a LOT of water to simply keep things alive.
So, you can understand my change in perspective when it comes to summer rains. Even on the 4th of July, a half inch to an inch of rain means I don’t have to water, or pay for watering our demanding lawn. We don’t live in a city that allows fireworks, and we aren’t planning on cooking out, or if we do, we can plan it between the thunderstorms – and I really can’t think of a more relaxing and enjoyable time on a holiday than to crack open the window, and listen to the rain pour down on all creation. Sorry, Randy of childhood – hopes change.
Indeed, hope and perspective in life constantly changes, as new and different situations pour down on us as we live these important days. Health, death, financial challenges – even the challenge to find happiness and security, and new risks and joy all change how we approach our lives. As I mentioned before, I believe we are called to live intentionally, but that also means we must live attentive to the world around us. Many wise persons have called it a matter of “being present” where we are, and being open and responsive, even with our hopes and wishes, based in no small part in where we are in the world today, and where the world is in our lives. It could mean we do long for sun, and hot days so that we can run and explore – sometimes, however, it means we look for the chance of rain, and quietly pray that it may be so, to feed and nourish the world that has been entrusted to us. Both are right answers. Both demand our hearts and our attentive spirits as we live each day.
C’mon rain – it can be sunny after the clouds roll by…
Word for the day fugacious. Meaning “fleeting or transparent.” From the Latin fugere which means “to flee” (like a fugitive). When we are honest with ourselves, as we become adults, and experience so many different settings and chapters of life, we should be convinced that our entire lives are fugacious, fleeting and transparent. The Bible uses the image of the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown in the oven. I hope they remember to water it, is all…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.