Monday, May 11, 2009

Rain, the Underappreciated Weather

Today is a deliciously rainy day. Just sort of a slow, steady drizzle, wrapped in fog and tucking me nicely into my armchair at Starbucks. I sit here, computer on my lap, coffee (really good coffee!) at my side and my "Portland, Oregon" shirt proudly displayed. If you don't know me well, you probably think I am sitting in Portland, in a Starbucks, looking at the Pacific Northwest Rain, perhaps a bit delusional.

Ahhh, descriptions can be deceiving. Though I wish that were the case; in actuality I am sitting in Fort Worth, Texas. Yes, it is certainly a Portland sort of day here, however, and I am basking in it! It is May, just 65 degrees and all around me are groups of people talking, nay- fellowshipping, whilst jazz plays and mist shrouds and softens the mood. Mmmm.

Being that I was raised in Portland, I can get really revved up (in a weird, mellow sort of way) on a day such as this! I want to bake cookies, read a good book to my kids and, well, drink really good coffee. I know; sounds like a recipe for laziness and adding mucho poundage to my backside. Could be. I'll never know since there aren't a lot of these sort of days here in Texas, especially in May. Hence, I tend to romanticize this weather and feel a calling to help others see what they are missing in the midst (or is it "mist"?) of it. No surprise, then, that on the first day of Autumn, I throw a party (soup and baked goods included) to celebrate the survival of another Texas summer and the arrival of cooler weather.

I just don't understand why the average person dislikes the rain so? What's up with the suicide rate climbing in areas that get a lot of precipitation? That's a tragedy in any climate but why is rain to blame? It seems to be that there's a lot of brainwashed people out there! The weatherman is the pied-piper of badmouthing wet weather and most people just mindlessly agree. Tragic, absolutely tragic. Rain is every one's pessimistic scapegoat.

Have you noticed the way the local meteorologist will furrow their brow and shake their head in disapproval while grumbling, "We've got an 80% chance of rain today. I'm afraid this soggy, nasty weather will continue for at least the next few days. It is not until the end of the week that we'll finally get a break and see the sunshine." Come on, is 95 degrees in the shade really something to look forward to?

Why not rephrase that and say, "Good news! There is just a 20% chance of sunshine. If we are lucky, this rain will stay with us for awhile, giving us some lovely cool weather and giving our flowers a long slow drink. Make some soup, bake some cookies and enjoy some family time while it lasts!" Now, wouldn't that make people respond a bit differently to the mood of the day? If you had heard this in the weather report all of your life, I bet you would party in the wet weather as well!

Yes, people, I think you have been duped! Here me now! I am like a voice, calling out in the wilderness, calling out from the marvelous mist and the resplendent rain. I want you to see that when it is raining, the glass really is half full!

OK, half full of rain water, you say?

Good point.

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At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.