Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Reflections on Rain

I'm enjoying a brief respite in a coffee house, with a dark roast served to me in a cardboard cup, as if I'd want to go anywhere else. It's raining outside, and I'm drawn to reflect and, for a few moments, let the rain take my thoughts.

David Grey is on the loudspeakers. The very name of the artist feels like a storm, and the music fits.

We're in the middle of a series on Jonah. Jonah, who had the audacity to think he could run from God. Jonah, who found himself in the midst of a holy storm at sea, where buckets of rain soaked his clothes as the realization that he could not escape God must have soaked into his mind. Waves knocked him off his balance like the hand of God, slapping some sense into him.

Jonah, who looks noble as he tells the crew that to save themselves they must throw him overboard. But based on his track record, this was probably a coward's suicide attempt. Jonah, who let the water and silence engulf him, only to find life in the belly of a fish. A strange and wonderful baptism that made his heart sing in the stench of stomach lining and rotting fish food. Three days in the fish, and a new life and new purpose when he rose again from that darkness.

I wonder if it's raining in India? I'm very excited to go, to see, to smell, to experience the land of the people that I have prayed for many times over the past few years. I'm praying the visa application comes through. I'm praying I can get everything done in the 7 weeks leading up to the trip.

I'm praying God will speak to me through this time, that I'll take the time to soak in this experience like rain.

Carlos Whitaker has a song called "Rain Down" that is wonderfully unabashed in its Trinitarianism. There are very few "worship" songs that are.

Sometimes rain can be the most welcome thing in the world. It can cool and refresh and envigorate. I think of playing with my brother in the rain-filled ditches at home as kids. The rain came with a cold front on a hot day. It felt incredible, and the idea of escaping inside seemed too tragic to even consider. I think of Tracie and I getting caught in a downpour back when we lived in our apartment. We went for a bike ride and got soaked. It seemed funny, and we laughed all the way home, moving as quickly as possible along neighborhood streets, as if we could dodge the lightning we watched on the way.

Ben and I used to sing "Rain" by Jackopierce at our shows. I used to write a lot of music for us. But at some point I became so self-critical of my writing that the first draft had to be the perfect draft of a song. I've not allowed myself a creative process for a long time. And it's a hard habit to change. I'm trying, though. Rain can sometimes feel the same: oppressive, halting, confining.

It looks like the rain is letting up.

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