Monday, August 15, 2011

When the waters rise...

Yesterday, in the early morning, we saw some remarkable rains move through the area. Late night, the thunder and lightning were impressive and the clamour of rain on the roof and air conditioners (as well as the clatter of water in the downspouts) alerted us to the order of magnitude of the water falling from the sky. For our Sunday morning experience, that meant navigating downed tree limbs and large puddles/spot floods on the roadways to the church. It meant trying to time our getting out of the cars to strive for the driest possible transit to the sanctuary door. It also meant the liturgical staff reaching out pastorally with hand towels for the folk whose timing was less than opportune.

Still, once services were done, the rain continuing meant that for the most part, Laura and I spent the day indoors marvelling at the curtains of raindrops that veiled us from being able to see across the yard to our neighbors. It also meant watching the return of a periodic flash flood on our street. The street where we live is a great place, a wonderful neighborhood with great residents....and a low point down the street that means a mini-flood when the rains outstrip the capacity of the storm sewers.

We watched late yesterday afternoon as the flood waters rose up to the top of the curb in front of our house (about 6-8 inches deep). It was a modest flood, but one all the same that put me in mind of any number of Biblical metaphors about how our hearts cry out for deliverance when the waters rise up. Floods are scary things, especially when they come up in a flash. They crash through our lives and leave not just destruction but also a sense of deep vulnerability in their wake. The certain truth is that once you experience a flood in the vicinity of where you make your home, it is likely to happen again. Sometime, off in the future, another flood will affect you and yours. That is not a reassuring thought.

Still, we were blessed yesterday. The waters outside stayed there. We didn't have a flood in our basement, as some did. We didn't have any apparent leaks in our roof, as some did. We aren't cleaning up downed limbs or broken shrubs from the yard.

Yes, I did leave the windows on the car open....but that is my own fault. I can't blame God or the universe for my own negligence...so I will leave that part out, other than to note that if I had taken the time to check on the windows I wouldn't be trying to dry the car out today.

So, as the sun peaks through today, I took a lap around the Church...and note that as per usual, our riverside location has once again caused us to welcome rising waters on the lowest part of our campus.

Just over the rise our predecessors built up to keep the Church out of the river's path is a vast puddle over 100' square and a few inches deep. I saw an errant fish or two swimming in the shadow of maples that are now islands in the stream, literally. The road is still "dry" but I am sure at some point we will see some intrusion.

I guess the conclusion I find in all these observations is that I can only affect my response to some elements of God's creation at work in my life. I can't make the rain to stop falling. I can't keep flood waters from rising. (I realize that I CAN remember to check and close my car windows....). So, best to observe, give thanks for rain that makes things grow and pray that the clean up and cost in human lives is minimal. Whether metaphorical or physical, floods simply are a part of life. As with most things, our true recovery is determined by the response we make to adversity in the first place.

So, embrace the sanguine....seek the peace of mind....and pick up your brooms and mops. As we clean up, may God bless us with greens refreshed by summer rains....and let us enjoy streets swept relatively clean by the receding waters.....

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