Posted in Life

Watering the Drought

Playing-in-the-Rain

Last night it rained, and we all completely lost it.

Since I moved to this area there hasn’t been a drop of rain.  The first thing I noticed when I moved here is that there are never any clouds.  Ever.  Occasionally I’ll see a few distant wisps lurking behind the mountains, and recently we’ve had the clogs of smoke blowing over from the wildfires, but never any cloud cover and never any rain.  Every time I check the seven-day forecast, I see a little line of suns.  It’s been a hot and dry summer that led into a hot and dry fall.

Then out of nowhere, the forecast showed lightning and heavy storms.  Rumor flew that we’d be getting the tail end of the hurricane, which had largely blown out but would still mean more rain than we’d had all summer.  But every day those little storm clouds on the forecast would be pushed back.  “It’ll rain on Tuesday!”  “Actually we should get more rain on Wednesday.”  “It’ll be coming down hard on the weekend.”  “It might rain by October …”

Then last night around 9:45, while I was sprawled out on my couch studying, I glanced out the window and saw my neighbor waving his arms and leaping like a maniac.  My roommate and I dashed outside.

Rain.  Lighting illuminated the water-logged courtyard, thunder barely audible over the rain pounding on the rooftops and sidewalks, the sheer volume of water seeming comparable to the monsoons of my childhood.  Heads began popping out of apartment windows, and all at once everyone was outside, abandoning homework without a second thought despite our looming midterms, staring, laughing, crying, filming, shouting their joy.  Without thinking we ran into it, spinning and dancing like fools, getting thoroughly soaked.  We didn’t care–it was raining, and from the new freshmen to the eternal grad students, we were all children again.

I’m not over-dramatizing, that is literally what happened.  We felt so liberated.  I’ve never been more aware that I live in a desert, and I haven’t been happier all month.

I’ve always loved rainstorms, but this one seemed to have unblocked me somehow.  For those moments in the storm, we all shed our professionalism and social pretenses and need to be adult-like.  For those moments in the storm, I was a little girl splashing in puddles again.  All the stress and worry and doubt that I’d let build up inside me cut free, like a long exhale, like the water pouring from the sky.

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Posted in Life

Death, Unity, and What Really Matters

My grandpa died yesterday morning.

I tried to think of any other way to segue into this, but there it is.  I had a big fancy post planned for today and planned to finish it up yesterday, but then I got the news and couldn’t really think of much else.

Everyone says they’re sorry, and I understand that there really isn’t much else to say.  I tell them not to be sorry; he is much happier where he is now.  Were we close?  Yes.  Do I miss him?  Yes.  Am I okay?  No, but I will be.

In the immediate aftermath, this is what I have learned.  It’s true, nothing can really prepare you for that kind of news.  At the same time, nothing brings people closer together.  I’m reminded of this quote from one of my favorite shows, spoken by a pastor after the death of a community leader:

And surely if a life as robust as Major Kirkpatrick’s can be ended so abruptly, it reminds us of the unavoidable truth – that all life is tenuous.  So how is it that this, this universal truth leads us to feel so alone?

We can deny the feeling all we want, we may even try to hide away from our feelings.  Like a wounded animal we separate ourselves from the pack, go off, lick our wounds, alone.  Not a bad instinct perhaps, but let me suggest an alternative.

If this life is precious, and if anything good can be found in a tragic circumstance like this, it’s that death exposes the lie.  The lie that we are separate, that we are not one.  Christ prayed that his disciples might find the unity that he had with his father.  That we might be one.  For if we are not one we are not his.  Here we are, a community come together to say goodbye to one of our own.  We are one.

Granite Flats Season 2

This weekend I’m going to have my whole family together for the first time in a long time, including some uncles and cousins I usually only see about once every six years.  While we were making plans and shifting schedules there was such an overtone of love in that group text.  Perhaps death reminds us not to take each other for granted, jolts us out of our numbing daily hustle and opens our eyes to what we really care about.  Suddenly I’m cramming my midterms and trying to accomplish the entire week in the next few days, and some things might slip through the cracks, but my academic stress has taken a backseat.

I don’t have any conclusion for this post.  A lot of things aren’t concluded right now.  I will say this: we all need each other.  Take some time today to reach out to your friends and family, and stop worrying about appearing to be put together.  We all need some clear emotional honesty from time to time.