03 October 2007

de-romanticizing the rain

Tired of stories about the rain yet? Too bad…

So, as has been mentioned, I love the rain. Love the sound, the smell, the taste, the coolness it brings with it…

And, surely, about half of you reading this are nodding as well. A lot of people love the rain. I mean, they sell candles and detergent and body wash and carpet cleaners and hand soaps and a million other things that smell like “fresh rain” - only the never smell anything like fresh rain. I hate that.

There is a certain romance about the rain, though, isn’t there? Here, we happen to live in the tin-roofed Mission House. The rain on a tin roof is unlike anything else in the world. Maybe I’m just desperate for that God-embrace, but as I lay in bed last week, listening to the rain beat the weathered, red roof of the house, I felt as if the Lord Himself was holding me in his massive palm.

Maybe I’m just over-romanticizing the rain, huh?

A lot of things are romanticized, though. War movies are always popular, although war might be the most destructive thing ever invented. Long-distance love stories always look fun. Then you have a friend with a long-distance love and you figure out that the whole thing is a lot of work and usually leads to a lot of sleepless nights. Ever seen a beer commercial? Those guys are always having so much fun, cracking jokes while they hang out with their perfect dogs and girlfriends while watching football. Umm, there is another side to that story to be sure.

But the rain is really perfect, right? I mean, a little rain has never been more than an inconvenience to a traveler or a surprise shower to a passer-by. Right?

Our friend Beauty was up at church with us on that Wednesday when the first rains came. I was buzzing from window to window, watching puddles form and waiting for thunderclaps to awaken my soul. She stared out the window longingly.

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Eventually, I inquired about her long face (skipping all relevant horse-walking-into-a-bar jokes). She half-smiled. It’s the rain, she told me.

What could be wrong with the rain, I wondered. Nothing. Obviously, nothing.

Beauty then explained to me that whenever it rained, puddles formed in her shack. When it stormed, she almost had her own river. The thunder boomed again. Only this time I recoiled at the sound.

Beauty is my dear friend. Stef and Beauty might as well be sisters. And Beauty lives in a tin and cardboard shack half the size of a one-car garage with her three children in the squatter camp. Beauty does not enjoy the rain.

And so, there on that same Wednesday that we lost Andre and the dry season, I lost something else. I lost a great bit of my romanticized view of the rain.

I still enjoy the smell of a shower on the horizon. I still spring to life when the first drops begin slapping the roof. I still like to sit and stare and just ponder the genius of a Creator who would have chosen such a beautiful medium with which to refresh his earth. I still enjoy the rain. Only, now, I enjoy it with a tinge of sadness. It brings a little more melancholy than before. I now enjoy the smell while I think of my friend and her children hoping that it will stop. And I think of the millions upon millions like her in this country. They probably don’t like those puddles much either.

Perspective - especially unwelcome perspective - can be a bit of a bummer.

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