Saturday, September 15, 2012

How Do You Know It's Raining?

Sometimes I look at my life as a continuum, like gently drifting down a river.  When a major change (like retirement and caring for my mom) occurs, it’s like turning into a different channel of the river, and I notice the difference --- like the current is faster or the shoreline scenery is different, or perhaps more subtly, the sunlight is at a different angle.  These big changes I notice and react to, but my life also has many smaller, yet no less important changes --- and sometimes they pass by unnoticed to me.
But my body instinctively notices, and it reacts.
I glanced at my hanging planter on the deck yesterday.  All the flowers had turned downward.  It almost looked as if it were sad.  It was raining on and off that day and the flowers closed slightly, and pointed down.  How did the plant know it was raining?  The day before, the humidity was equally high, and as I slowly watered the plant its flowers remained pointed up toward the sky, seemingly happy to accept a drink from me.  But on the rainy day the flowers pointed down.  How did the plant know it was raining, and react appropriately?
Well, obviously the plant has no brain, so it did not think about the matter, yet still it reacted.  And in that natural way, going with the flow, I think sometimes we too react to rain in our lives --- without thinking about it; it’s something for God to take care of.  So often when things get dark we fret and worry, yet how often do dark things happen that we are not even aware about?  Did we miss something to worry about, or when we DO notice are we often worrying needlessly?  Does our life sometimes slowly get dry over time, like the plant, and when healing rains come do we just soak them up, refreshed --- except when we notice them, so we can worry?
I’ve been thinking about how many of us are so ego-centric, worrying about things almost exclusively in terms of what they mean to us, and our not being concerned about others nearly as much as we might wish we were.  Love of neighbor is much more difficult than love of self.  Maybe that’s why the second great commandment of Jesus, love neighbor as self, just assumes that we love ourselves.  And as we drift along the stream of our life, if we notice changes to others around us, to our country, to our church, or to our families and friends, it is usually in terms of how those changes impact us.  Our country is going broke --- will I have enough money?  Our Church preaches about killing babies or marriages disintegrating --- does that impact me?  Our friends and neighbors lost their job --- too bad for them. 
In taking control of our life, in being worried about what happens to US, I think we believe that we are insulated from events around us, like they’re on the shore and not in our river, and can happen to someone else but not to us ---- because we are taking actions to protect ourselves, or steer away from troubling events.  But in trying to control our lives, we have stopped some of what used to be natural reactions to events.  I think the plant I pictured above may have an advantage over us in some ways --- it can’t think, and sometimes we think too much.  Certainly if it is raining we should put up an umbrella or move to another place, but I think sometimes we, like the plant, should just put our heads down and let it happen.  “Into each life a little rain must fall;” it’s a natural thing. 
If it indeed is raining, and if we simply MUST think about it, then we need to acknowledge that sometimes rain is a good thing, and just let it happen without our worries.
We do need to do what we can to help our country, our Church, and our family and friends, but we also need faith: Faith that God permits the rain or what we perceive as bad times, because sometimes they are good thing for us. We need Faith that He can make good out of even the worst, and Faith that He cares for us, and we don’t have to worry so much to about caring for ourselves. 
We need Faith that God is in control of those things we cannot control, and that despite how stormy the weather is today, there will come a tomorrow when we will lift our faces to God’s light, and give praise.
And if we have a right attitude, one in which we do not think that we are all important, these things will just happen naturally.
Even in these times which appear endlessly dark, we need faith that light will come again.  He promised it.
Do not be anxious.       


  1. Hi you are a great writer. You draw pictures with your words, I admire that. I just started blogging myself about my anxiety, occasional depression and life in general. Since then I have been searching for blogs on similar topics

    I do not have your way with words but blogging, along with yoga and meditation is my method of selfhelp.

    Anyway, will be reading more

  2. Thank you for taking the time to comment; I welcome all input --- well, I don't appreciate the occasional spam comment, but I even allow those.

    Welcome aboard, Ad Hoc. I hope that occasionally you may get some value from the words posted here. But make no mistake about it, they are not my words. I never take a topic and say: "I must write something about that." Perhaps some things are on my mind, which influence my writing, but all the words here were written in chapel or church. I'm not saying these are God's words (Good grief! God's not that desperate to communicate that He'd use me), but I am saying that His presence also influences my thoughts, and my words. My sidebar comment "Why Read This" explains my thoughts on this writing.

    I hope blogging provides you some measure of benefit, but selfishly, I hope it also provides me and others who might read your words with benefit. Now more than ever we are in this world, in this country, together --- and we'd better start acting like it.

    And since I am not sitting in a chapel as I write this, those last comments were mine, totally. (I think.)

  3. Okay, Tom, some surfing around in your blog I came to the post by AdHoc. I surfed on over to her blog. I can see why she's depressed, and I don't think I can help her but I will try. She engages in a deadly habit of negative thinking, and it sounds like she also has paranoia. I've been there on both counts and they invite trouble. They're difficult to overcome.

    I'll pray before I comment on her posts, and ask for your prayers for her and for me. (I know - I really didn't have to ask - just a formality.)