Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)
TITLE: Rainy Day Discourse
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Barefooted and dressed only in my swimming suit, I stepped outside to be encompassed by thick grayness and the persistent stings of raindrops falling like icy bullets from an August sky. Somehow I belonged out in the midst of the rainy onslaught, I reasoned. The symbolism of the drops seemed clear as they drilled their message on my head.
Permeate; pervade; persevere. You’re on a journey too, much like ours.
I spontaneously leapt out into the yard with my arms outspread and twirled like an old-lady-turned-ballerina. Not caring what the neighbors might think, I pranced in awkward circles - inviting the drops to totally cover me. After less than a minute my graying hair dripped into my face in long, wet strands; my aging body shimmered, encased by drips of cool, life-giving water.
This was a purging experience following a family member’s long battle with a frightening illness – a time fraught with emotional pain. Earlier that morning I’d prayed for my own cleansing, healing, and renewal – and when the rain started, I knew what I must do.
As my heart fluttered from the atypical exertion and my feet stilled their dance, I embraced the quiet – the complete absence of any movement or sound except the rain’s pattering. There seemed only one choice: MORE! Without hesitation I tiptoed quietly down the slippery, wet pier and jumped into the water.
It was a baptismal moment of sorts, as the silky smooth water covered my body and buried the turmoil and worry that had defined recent days. When I came up for air and took a few strokes, the raindrops greeted me with whispering voices - pitter-patter; dipple-dop – and a gentle, effective facial massage.
I floated on my back for several minutes and allowed the raindrops to beat their telegram on my eyelids:
H – O – P – E …
They repeated this message, over and over, until tranquility transformed my soul.
Encouraged by the sheer escape of the moment, I turned over, paddled to shallower water, and stood upright with my feet firmly planted on the sandy bottom. After wiping my face with my hands, I scanned the shoreline as best I could while peering through the wall of rain.
Not too far away stood a wild blue heron. A magnificent bird with long, stick-like legs and a usually extended, graceful neck, he seemed hunched down in these circumstances. I wondered if he, too, relished the relief of forced relaxation? There could be no worries about fishing for him right now; no agitation with annoying boaters or seagulls; no reason to fear while his usual daily routines were stopped.
I seemed to identify with the heron on some primitive level as he eyed me tentatively, hopped onto a rock, and then plop-plopped - one foot after the other - into rocky shallows. Perhaps he was lost in thought as well.
Standing in the downpour, it seemed we both savored the peace and calm; we loved being subdued. I squatted down hoping to avoid startling the heron further, and in this position my nose remained only barely above water. As I watched the bird from such a perspective, tiny droplet-bombs struck the lake, exploded, and splattered my face with miniature spits and sprays.
Something impressed me in that moment – perhaps an unexpected companionship with the heron amidst the instant dissolution of the raindrops. Each drop fell hard and fast, pummeling pell-mell from the sky, until it hit the surface of the lake. Then it comfortably melted into its surroundings as if returning home after a long and arduous journey. Each drop falling on me, and my waterfowl companion, also shed from our bodies to return to the lake.
The pelting raindrops collectively shushed: Perhaps this belonging … this dissolving … mirrors what it will be like to enter heaven.
Without warning the heron spread his massive wings and flapped a few times while hop-hopping toward the marshland further down the lakefront. His movements seemed purposeful, but relaxed and without tension. Likewise, I climbed the aluminum ladder hanging from the side of the pier, walked along the wooden sections, and back toward the house. Refreshed and no longer consumed by anxious thoughts, I knew Living Water would continue to rain down in my heart so I might find ongoing renewal just as I had in these few moments.
Come when you’re weary … I will give you rest … rest … rest …
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