Thursday, September 30, 2010

"God is in the rain"

It's a quiet morning in the office. And it's been raining for four days, our city making national headlines, 21.28 inches of water that have fallen already. For tomorrow they've forecasted sunshine, the rain finally stopping sometime late tonight as another system stalls above us. But I'm in no hurry. Let it rain.

I was thinking about the rest of it, the part before about all the tension washing away, and while I'm content to think it through with metaphors, I find that the reality is whenever I walk back inside it's still there, that even two feet of rain doesn't help when I'm not out in it. I feel like Don Miller:

"Will we be forever in fleshing this out? . . . I suppose the clock itself will wear thin its time before I am ended at this alter of dying and dying again."

Relationships are so hard, and I'm afraid I'm not naturally good at them. Maybe none of us are--I don't mean to say whether we are, only this tension or brokenness or sin, whatever name you give it, rears its head in these small spaces between people. And maybe the promixity gives it better hold. But it is hard to love my sister, it is hard to love my brother.

And then I come back to the metaphor, to the rain: words like wash--you see? It is true, and it has all been washed away, I am free from this. Words like Paul's in his letter to the Romans: "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." But also: "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life."

These words are true. I could stand outside in the downpour and scrub until my skin turned raw and red, till even the water on my skin burned and still I wouldn't be able to do it myself. Here I can hardly help thinking of Eustace the boy-dragon in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. But then, all the water running off me, I realize it already has been washed off--not by me--and what's left is that I must go back inside and practice this loving, this forgiveness, or it miscarries.

I want to love well. And then, sometimes, I don't--I'd rather be angry. I'd rather say: you were wrong, and you don't deserve this, all the while fully admitting these same things about myself. I was wrong too, I don't deserve this either, but it's easy to be angry. And it's hard, even after forgiving someone, to keep coasting on that momentum. But then we weren't meant to, and it's got to be again and again, every day.

One more quote, by Brian Andreas, and I can hear my beautiful roommate saying it to me, reminding me: "How many people can you love before it's too much she said & I said I didn't think there was any real limit as long as you didn't care if they loved you back." It's easy when it's easy, and it's hard when it's hard.

What's left? Well. It's still raining, harder than it was earlier. And I still don't want it to stop, not quite yet anyway, but I do want to go outside in it, for reasons entirely different than Monday's. The rain can't do it and even the metaphor forces me to see the reality more clearly, but the rain reminds me. Don Miller again: ". . . we will learn to love, and perhaps then, and only then, understand this great gravity that drew Him, unto us."

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