Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Rain in Spain...

I keep picturing Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, repeating very carefully, "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain". And I keep thinking that this rhymes with "brain", but I couldn't come up with a clever phrase to tie the rain in Spain to my brain. (The glial cells are resting from yesterday's Scrabble game. I won by almost 100 points - another successful neuro test!)

Last Tuesday I prayed for rain to relieve the drought we are experiencing this summer. I don't know why I hadn't thought of it before, but all of a sudden I felt like I should do it. So I did. Later, as I was closing the door on our car (it was one of those days when I had access to our car), I noticed how dirty it was, and I considered taking it to the car wash. But a little voice inside said, "You prayed for rain. Why would you wash your car?" So I decided to exercise a little faith, in the hopes that it might actually rain.

Later that afternoon, during my son's football practice, the clouds gathered, lightning flashed, and we were caught in a downpour that hadn't been seen all summer. It was great! And then, in typical "wow" fashion, this prayer was answered with more rain over the past several days. It's raining this afternoon again.

I'm not having a Bruce Almighty moment. It's not like I get credit for the rain. And it's not like I automatically get everything I pray for. And it's not like praying for rain was a unique idea during this season of drought. But it was nice to be guided in what I should be praying for. And it was nice to be reminded of the importance of faith. And it was especially nice to see the outpouring of blessings that came in response to this petition.

One day this week, as I walked my son to kindergarten, he noticed a rainbow in the sky and excitedly proclaimed his discovery, jumping and pointing and shouting. Rainbows are cool. The colorful light through the rain. A reminder that the storms of our lives can help create beauty and blessings. A symbol of God's promises to his children.

I remember that a friend shared with me one of the verses from the hymn, "God Moves in a Mysterious Way", which includes the following words:

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

She reminded me that adversity, like rain, is a necessary part of life. Sometimes we think of rain like the cartoon character who has a cloud following him around. Or as Karen Carpenter used to sing, "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down..." But living in a drought helps create an appreciation for rain. Not much grows in a drought. And not much spiritual growth happens without adversity.

Of course, as useful as rain can be, too much rain can be overwhelming. I remember helping clean out homes after a major flood in the Houston area in the mid-90's, and I remember hearing my husband's stories of his relief efforts in post-Katrina New Orleans last year. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by the storms of adversity in our lives. But even these storms are followed by a rainbow. Even our worst afflictions can be consecrated for our benefit. I have been amazed by the blessings that emerged from the most difficult times of my life.

I remember being much younger and hearing the classic song from the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid:
Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'
So I just did me some talkin' to the sun
And I said I didn't like the way he got things done
Sleepin' on the job
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'
But there's one thing I know
The blues they send to meet me won't defeat me
It won't be long till happiness steps up to greet me
Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me'
Cause I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'
Because I'm free
Nothin's worryin' me
Yeah, nothing's worrying me today. In fact (and my apologies to any lactose-intolerant readers for this super-cheesy final thought)...
I'm singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I've a smile on my face
I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
Just singin',
Singin' in the rain

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