It's probably just me. Usually it is. But the timing was perfect and this image flashed into my brain. I 've learned to keep most of these little inside-my-head scenes to myself, but this one I'm going to share with you.
Our neck of the woods has had nothing but heat-washed blue skies for weeks. A desolate, weak breeze occasionally rattles drooping leaves, birds hang their heads and pant through parted beaks, farmers pray for rain and cuss the local weather man. In the city, lawns brown, air-conditioning units hum like giant cicadas, yard birds huddle dazed around dead, leaf-clouded bird baths. No relief in sight. We were hopeful for a time, expected relief any day. Then we gave up all belief in rain, accepted our lot, taught ourselves to breathe shallowly and hug the shade.
This morning I'm on my way to the funeral of a friend's mother. The lady was in her late eighties, and by all accounts, lived her life as fully as most of us. This isn't a memorial to tragedy I'll be attending. Still, her daughter, husband, friends will mourn. They'll open thier eyes to morning light forgetful of their loss and be hit with the knowledge of her death again at full awakening. They'll turn toward the phone to tell her some tidbit of trivia and realize, mid-stride, that she's gone. Grief will overtake them for long, dark moments.
It rained last night. Not the tease of a drop or two that evaporates before it can properly kiss the parched dirt. No. This was real, wind shaking the trees, moon racing black scrimmed clouds - rain. Life giving water softening, penetrating, nourishing the good earth.
Pay attention. Here's the tiny ephiphany for the day.
Might not death be to life, what that rain was to our thirsty land? Is it possible that we go, day by day, year by year, until we grow accustomed to the hardship, until the longing for relief feels like foolish belief in a child's fairy tale? Is not faith, whether in God, or rain, or Bigfoot - is not all faith - a choice we cling to, glory in, regardless of the last time our faces were kissed by proof?
I have a picture in my head of my friend's mother. She's holding hands with Jesus, dancing on strong limbs in the warm rain, yearnings and hopes long forgotten, satisfied and fulfilled.