Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In a Dry and Weary Land...

I live in the desert.  Not the sand-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see kind of desert, but dry, and surprisingly green.  We joke that everything in it either bites you or burns you (hey, have you seen the list of venomous creatures here?).  We also get very little rain.  Sounds like a “duh” concept, but a lot of people don’t realize that when we say it doesn’t rain, we mean we can count on fingers and toes how many days of the year it rains.  No joke.
So for those of you who live in places where rains threatens constantly, it may strike you as a little odd that pretty much no matter the time of day or night, if it rains, we’ll go out and play in it.  Yeah, I know.  When I first moved here, I thought it was weird, too.  Even adults that are too “mature” to play will still nonchalantly make their way outside and enjoy it.  Want to see pure joy?  Check this out:

That’s Joe, running and leaping for all he’s worth in the sunny rain-shower we had a few days ago.  It lasted all of 4.2 minutes, tops.  Last night was better, it sprinkled off and on all night.  But we went out into the dark to play in it for a few minutes before bed.  And it brought on not only a splendid coolness that we’ve all been waiting rather impatiently for, but also the glorious smell of a rain-splashed desert. 
If you’ve never smelled it, you have no idea what I’m talking about.   But we can smell the water in the air miles away, and watch storms build around the mountains with breathless anticipation.  We are happy to call a game or practice for even the possibility of rain, and revel in the instant sheen of green over everything after the slightest moisture.
It’s been reminding me this week of a short story that I read, oh, probably in high school.  It’s called “All Summer in a Day” and is written by Ray Bradbury.  The short synopsis is that it takes place on Venus, where it rains all the time.  One little girl, who has moved there from Earth, remembers the sun – but no one else believes her.  When the one hour out of many years comes that the sun comes out, she has been locked in a closet by her classmates as a nasty prank, and so misses the precious time in the sun.
Now, that story is the opposite of how things are here, and obviously, we don’t literally go for years without rain (though it certainly seems like it sometimes).  But the delight in seeing something that is mighty rare out here is just as real.
I’m going to the obvious connection here – our lives get just as dry and dusty as the desert sometimes.  On the flip side, sometimes they are so saturated with stuff that it’s like the fictional Venus portrayed in the movie.  I’ve had one of those weeks this week that seems very blurred together – and a little over-saturated with lots of stuff to do.  I think our lives end up that way a lot, and I can always here that little voice (um, that would be the Holy Spirit, yup), telling me to slow down, to balance.  God doesn’t want us dry and dusty – He wants to fill us up to overflowing.  But I think He also doesn’t want us so overstuffed with, well, stuff, that we have no room for Him either. 
It’s a hard balance – one that really can only be achieved through His power and grace.  I have to continually ask for help with that, as all my friends know.  Yup, this collected exterior is a nice front, but not always the truth.  I pray that I will not only be filled up with His Spirit, but to find the simple joy in it that I see in my children (okay, and myself) when it rains in a dry land.  How about you?