When You're in the Dog Days of Summer & Your Soul Needs Watered
I just wait here, day after day.
The land burns, but there's no need for flame. It dries and shrivels beneath a sun unforgiving.
Clouds rise in the north west, white thunderheads triumphant.
The dark blue of a storm wraps around us from everywhere.
There's rain in them clouds, you can smell it miles off, see the showers over the hills. Somewhere there's a bit of earth tasting sweetness.
Here I am, watching the goodness soak in everywhere else but where I am.
Why not here? Why not us?
We park cars under safety, preparing for--praying for--rain. Day after day we watch those clouds, hope anxious.
Them clouds have lots to spill and they split down the middle like the parting of the Red Sea and we're left in a dry and bloody strip of land.
Along with the prairie, my soul is just thirsty. And I've traipsed and wandered and thought and I have ransacked my heart, and this earth, for some way to get it all back.
. . . get all what back?
I have to wonder, What was it I lost in the dying drying summer that burned the dreams and the hopes and pleasures out of me? What was it? It's like the Manna they found in the desert. They didn't know what it was, but they knew they needed it. And when I lost it I couldn't find it again because I didn't know the name of it, I couldn't call it back or go searching for a nameless thing.
That's how I feel: a dried up soul in a thirsty land that doesn't know what she lost when she forgot to remember whatever it was she was supposed to hold on to.
You wake up one morning when you went to bed happy, you put your boots on, you make your bed, you get your coffee and God's word, and then the world caves in. There's fire taking homes and lives and burning places you'll never see now. And Mama's reading the news aloud and is there never any hope? I'm sitting there with a book of words written by God and I can't find anything.
Where did hope go when the land dried up?
The Dog Days of Summer. Yeah, I have to smile a bit when I read it 'cause I feel just a little bit like a dog gone crazy with the heat, with the tongue swelling dry, not finding any water.
I watch those clouds. Still hoping. But I've stopped driving my car into safety out of storm and wind, cause there ain't no storm and there ain't no wind, and ain't there a God up there? Why's He sending all the rain everywhere else except where it's needed?
I don't have an answer to put in here.
I miss my deadline, last Friday, cause there's still no rain and it's September, and isn't it supposed to be autumn already?
I have to put this off because I look out at the clouds and all I want is rain.
Rain to soothe my Mama's fears.
Rain to make the earth smell good again.
Rain to wash away my hurts.
Rain to give the children back their homes that burnt to the ground.
Rain to give back all the memories that were taken.
Rain that will seemingly make everything better. All right again. Good. If we just had rain, life would be good again, right?
But how can I ask for rain when on the other side of the country there's too much of it?
Where can I find a balance?
Then I'm looking around my house, the cool, fresh mornings that I love when it's just me and Mama awake, getting ready for the day.
The peace in the stillness before the heat. Home. God's here, He's in the quiet of all this. The sweetness of all this. I can feel Him seeping in around the edges of this haven He's given me. Taste Him in the solitude. Life is grace right here.
Then I have to shake my head at myself because I hear it, plain as day:
Why are you limiting the God of abundance to only this moment? To only these clouds? To only this peace? To only rain? To things you only want?
He is not only in rain and relief.
He is the relief.
But He is in the pain, too.
Like the words of a girl who'd only lived twenty-two years of life and faced a chopping block, on her last day, she said it, "The sun still shines . . ."
If God was with a girl willing to die and spoke these words through her on her death day, if God was there in her wrongful death, then God is here in these days without rain. God is here in the face of this empty dryness.
They all wondered where God was, when the world was broken and ravaged with war, they asked it right out, "Where are you God?"
All those Jews who escaped? All those citizens who hid God's Chosen People from Nazis? All those soldiers who left home for foreign shores? All those women who faced death camps and still sang praises to God? All those teenagers who refused to follow Hitler's Youth down a path to glory? All those noble Frenchmen who worked the underground? All those who never gave up hope and kept fighting in any way they could?
That's where God was. If He was not there, the world would have burned clear through, 'cause there wouldn't have been anyone fighting. There wouldn't have been any good.
So when your soul is thirsty and you just need something to stop the burning?
Just look at the clouds pouring rain somewhere else and say, "God is there."
Then look at the dust beneath your feet, the dry grass waving, the fallen leaves crackling, look at all the burning. But then--THEN look at the cool of the morning, the little things you love, the shoots that bare witness to God, and you say, "God is here."
This is my balance: When the world's broken and thirsty and I can't find water where water should be, I look where water isn't, and all these little trickles lead to streams, and all these streams lead to rivers in a dry land.