There is something about a dark, pouring-down-rain day like today that makes me feel like God is closer than ever. The sky is nearly touching the ground, you can't see beyond what is right in front of you, and it is as if the distance between us and Him has grown smaller. My thoughts tend to turn inward on these days. I am more contemplative and prayerful. I am thankful for the smells of wet soil and green trees, and the sound of drops pounding the roof. I think of old loves and how though some involved pain, the love that was there was real and came straight from the hand of a good God. Moments of time that seem more like poetry flood my mind and bring a smile motivated by joy.
We carry umbrellas, on a day like today, cover our shoulders with raincoats, and wear rubber boots to our knees. But sometimes we need to be soaked to the middle of our thighs, walking in puddles with inside-out wind-broken umbrellas just to feel God in the cool, relentless rain drops. We need to be reminded that nothing bad happens when we are pelted by rain, not really. We get wet. We feel uncomfortable. But we are here and we feel something, we feel God.
Sounds are muted on a day like today. A plane flies silently overhead. Birds hide in nests. Trees bend in the wind, but without a noise. Really the only thing we hear is thunder. Deep, roaring, overpowering, unpredictable thunder. In between these eruptions of sound, there is silence. It is a silence we do not create, but that he gives, wanting us to hear something other than the interruptions and busy humming of our own lives. This silence makes me lean in, makes me stay attuned. Let me hear you, Lord.
Everyone looks a little tired on a day like today. We were all jarred awake by the alarm ringing because this morning felt much more like the middle of a night than a new day. There are lots of closed eyes on the train and I can't help but wonder what kinds of work God might be doing behind those lids and in the quiet hearts -- what he is doing in me to draw me closer. The open eyes that I do see seem deeper somehow on days like today. Maybe none of us are quite in control as we thought on the bright sunny yesterday. And love seems urgent today, but harder to hand out, harder to give than on the days the sun and birds and endless blue sky cheer us on. What we want most is to collect the ones important to us, the ones who hold our hearts in delicate hands, and ride out a day like today behind closed doors.
Things slow down on a day like today. The breaths are deeper -- both coming in and going out -- our thoughts more thorough, each minute longer than the same minute on a sunny day, every word more meaningful and longer lasting. I want to fall in love; listen to jazz; hold a mug of hot coffee and a long conversation; cuddle under warm blankets; savor a good book; fill my soul; still my mind; and slow my heart.
Pain feels broader on a day like today because it feels a little like adding insult to injury. But in a strange way, a day like today is a reminder that a day like yesterday, bright with sun and hope and color, will come back. Everyday will not be like today. We know this for sure if the the past is any indication of the future.
And perhaps this is the key to all the other stuff that a day like today uncovers: that something deep and long-lasting and beautiful happens in the rain, but not everyday will be like this day. The sunny day that floods warmth, hope, joy, uncomplicated, unending love is on the way:
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' Then he said, 'Write this down for these words are trustworthy and true.' He said to me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all of this, and I will be his God, and he will be my son.'" (Rev. 21:1-7)
Thank you, God, for a day like today and the tomorrow it brings.