Rain, Rain Here To Stay

It won’t stop raining. Everyone is trying not to complain because, well, the lakes have been dry for ages now. They are finally filling up, which is good. Good, good, good! But still. This is North Texas, not Portland or Seattle.

At the end of a recent workday, I began the long trek across the poorly leveled parking lot. In the rain. Like usual. There were a couple of people ahead of me and it struck me that there are three kinds of people in this new world of ours. And they were being illustrated in that moment.

The first are those poor fools who still haven’t figured out that the sky is highly likely to open up and dump on them. They can be seen crossing the parking lot with their shoulders hunched to their ears, their shirt and pant legs quickly turning dark from the absorbed moisture. They hesitate at the large puddles, as if trying to decide whether it’s better to just give up and splash through or take the time to find a route around. They are drenched by the time they get to their car. Such a person was one of the ones ahead of me.

The second are the average folk. They have an umbrella or raincoat and thus walk more deliberately to their destination. They are not immune to the puddles, though. Those suckers will come up over the top of your shoes if you try to walk through them! So they approach each row of cars with an eye out. They sometimes have to walk along the row for several cars before finding a place of safe passage. The other person in front of me was one of these.

Then there are the wise, the special, the few. These people, these people, have learned. No old dogs here. Yes, these people stride with confidence and grace, taking the most direct path to their vehicle, heedless of any depth of water the parking lot might throw their way. They are dry under their umbrella, but more importantly, their feet are safe and cozy in their giant rain boots. They take a childlike pleasure in splashing through the deep puddles. I am one of these people. I even take it a step further: my umbrella matches my rain boots. I know. You only wish you were half as cool as me.

The Labyrinth

Today, we took the boys walking around the ranch where we are staying this week. We found ourselves walking through an area we hadn’t been last year. It had rained so all the green seemed brighter than usual. The green leaves of the trees hung low with the weight of the rain water, dangling ever so close to the river, which was itself several different remarkable shades of green due to the beautiful varieties of moss and plants just below the surface. The wood chips that marked the walkway were also a brighter reddish brown than they would have been dry. All together, it felt like walking through a fairy tale land.

We saw a sign for a labyrinth and decided to search it out. The boys were hoping for a maze, a la David Bowie. We did our best to dissuade them of the notion, explaining that it’s a path used for prayer and contemplation. They still ran ahead in excited anticipation. When we reached it, they yelled “cool!” and headed in.

We looked at each other and smiled. I tried to read the instructions to the boys but I knew this walk through a labyrinth would not be as peaceful or spiritual as times past. Nevertheless, I started my walk, the last and the slowest of the four. I centered my mind on God and tried to block out the raucous traveling of my progeny. I asked God to show me how to be a better parent. To be more patient, especially on this trip. To find ways to handle the wild hyperactivity more successfully, without yells or threats or attempted intimidation.

I couldn’t block the boys from my attention, however. I soon noticed that they were sticking out their hands for a light hand slap as they passed each other on the winding paths. Completely missing the point, I thought. Introspection is the name of the game here. And then I noticed my husband approaching me on an adjacent path. We looked at each other and smiled. And stuck our hands out, mimicking our little boys.

The boys noticed. At that point, any person who passed any other person quietly put out their hand for the touch. It didn’t lessen the experience one bit. In fact, it deepened it considerably as I was drawn into my boys’ world. They entered the center of the labyrinth much sooner than I did, of course. And what they did next made my smile go all the way down to the tips of my toes and back.

I had explained that this was a means of prayer and meditation. So when Daryl made it to the center, he sat down with crossed legs. He put his hands palms up on his knees, lightly pressing the thumbs to the index fingers, and started humming “Ohmmmmm…. Ohmmmmm… Ohmmmmm”

Without questioning, Hal sat down behind him and did it too.


Now, I know they were just having fun. I don’t think their trip through the labyrinth deepened their spirituality or anything significant like that. But it had a profound effect on me. God showed me my boys being their usual selves in an environment in which I should have been extremely put-out at their lack of reverence yet couldn’t be precisely because of that environment. He answered my prayer by showing me how to extend grace and patience to my boys, by drawing me into their play, by sharing their joy.