I mentioned that it rained two nights ago. What occurred since then, however, is that we had ridiculous driving rain for most of yesterday. I mean pouring down, frog-strangling storms – bright color on the weather radar. No hail, little wind, but ooh, the water. I was never so happy to have invested both in landscape around the house this spring that slope all rains away from the foundation, and also the two new, top of the line sump pumps last summer. For those of you in the south, with no basements, sump pumps sit in a hole in the corner of the basement where water outside the walls runs to, and then the pumps magically shoot the water through pipes to underground hoses, and far away from what otherwise would be a wet basement.
So, the most and best we could do is watch the rain pour down, and take a nap, and wake up to more rain. I have a little weather station in the back yard, and by the time it was done, around 6pm, we had received 2.94 inches of rain, which for our living quarters was huge. No damage, no broken limbs, and my car had an automatic 9-hour wash and rinse.
However, something else happened yesterday that I didn’t realize until I got up this morning. Not only did we go from temperatures in the 90s down to 58 degrees, but usually when I first wake up, I have a cup of coffee, and then begin to snort and cough and sneeze and have to put drops in my eyes – not due to the coffee, but to “seasonal allergies,” and a night time full of breathing in all the mess while lying prone on my bed. Probably tree pollen, but I wouldn’t rule out any of the other suspicious characters, like grass and mold and such. This morning, though, I woke up, got my coffee, and then just sat there and enjoyed the morning. Even now, hours later, I have not coughed or sneezed, and I even invited my lovely wife to take a walk around the neighborhood, and I managed to do so while actually being able to breathe both in and out. 2500 steps, so a good start for the day.
Apparently, the vicinity of God’s beautiful earth around where I live got a power washing, atmospherically speaking. It appears that the hours of driving rain not only cleared the air, but also beat and washed lingering pollen out of the trees, and grass, and other nasty places. We had been sitting this summer with high to extremely high pollen, and this morning, the scale showed us to be a sweet green color, and “low” printed to describe our area. We have opened the doors and windows, and I am rejoicing in full, deep breaths, and clear, unwatery vision.
I’ve come to a couple of thoughts with this miracle morning. First, I may need to look for more powerful and effective allergy relief medicine. Apparently, the stuff I am taking must be for beginners, or indeed, people who enjoy wheezing. Second, however, is my amazement when I think of this world. I know, and almost appreciate the fact that pollen must exist for a whole host of reasons in our environment, from plant reproduction to giving bees something to do. I just have to accept the fact that I am just a sensitive guy when it comes to nature, and allergies. More importantly, however, is that God has the power, at least for an August morning, to wash the overage of pollen out of the air, and to give at least a day’s worth of relief from a snuffy summer. It is heavenly. Of course, I know it will build up again, and no rain is expected for the next two weeks, so this will be short-lived, but at least it was lived, and enjoyed, and discovered!
Perhaps that is as important as anything. If I live my life accidentally, I might not even notice the gift of clear air. When I am intentional about the world around me, and how it affects me, and how I affect it, then discovery plays a huge role. I can find more significant cause and effect – it dumped the rain, and I can breathe. On top of it all, when we live intentionally, we can be better prepared to thank God for what we see as a non-asked for gift, that blesses and heals.
What have you discovered in your life on earth this past week that you might offer as a point of gratitude to God? They are there – believe me, they are. The more open our eyes, the more we will discover the myriad of ways in which God blesses us, and bring us abundance, and sometimes even guides us through the storms that befall us. When I intend to see God’s hand in my world, then I am ready to offer my worship, my thanks, my love to the One who has first loved me, and Who continues to do so, even by giving me a nice deep breath of fresh air on a summer morning.
What have you – what will you discover about your world and your life today? Notice that God is right beside you.
Word for the day: concinnity. Kuhn-SIN-i-tee. There’s not much in the word that gives a clue to what it means, unless you are a Latin major. Indeed, from Latin, concinnare, “to make ready,” and from the noun concinnus, “neat.” Concinnity describes the style of writing, or art or music in which there is a simple elegance, or neatness to the subject or the work. Not a lot of fluff, or going off in tangent, or messy edges, concinnity is the true love of neat freaks, or people who really like structure and organization, instead running chaotically and throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. Johann Sebastian Bach was probably the supreme master of concinnity in his musical arrangements. They are practically arithmetic in their construction, and yet provide a simple and noble beauty that has lasted through time.
The opposite of concinnity, I suppose, would be words like “mish-mash” or “hodgepodge” or images like my room when I was a teenager. I may have generally known where everything was, but it more like a jungle than a manicured lawn. It’s also true that concinnity is a fine way for particularly neat-obsessed people to look down on the rest of the world as severely wanting…
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.