"Are you alright?" she sings,
a perfect song for a dreary day,
one wrapped in rain's silent noise.
Come on, rain. I have work to do,
as the birds come and go, their
chatter uninterrupted by the wash.
Sing "I'm on a lonely road, and
I'm traveling, traveling, traveling," and
I know what she means. Rain has a
lonesome feel. It makes me travel,
thinking of lying on my bed in high
school, watching the water run down
my windows, waiting for something to
happen, soon. I crack the window,
breathe in deeply, and I smell the
mountains, Spring, rododendrons,
birch and fir trees, a crackling fire.
And all this rain and memory is free,
In Scripture, rain is both a sign of blessing and a sign of God's judgment. For the latter, we need go no further than Noah and the great flood of judgment. For blessing, you could go anywhere. Job says "He says to the snow, 'Fall on the earth,' and to the rain shower, 'Be a mighty downpour'" (Job 37:6).
But there is a definite emotional feeling associated with rain. If you haven't had it, you welcome it. You say things like "he is like the light of morning at sunrise on a cloudless morning, like the brightness after rain that brings the grass from the earth'" (2 Sa. 23:4). If you've had too much of it, or you get too much of it, you think of the "driving rain that leaves no crops" (Pr. 28:3). Sometimes, when you add rain to an otherwise bad day, it just feels worse, as when Ezra calls a sinful nation before him, confronting them with their sin, and we read that "all the people were sitting in the square before the house of God, greatly distressed by the occasion and because of the rain" (Ez. 10:9). I have to think the rain was symbolic on that ocassion of the washing away of the peoples' sin, and yet they did not see it that way.
I have good memories of rain -- like walking through puddles with my then young children, or lying on a bed by an open window enjoying the rest afforded by a cloudy, raining day. I also have bad memories -- of a flooded basement, as a child, or the kind of flooding that wipes out whole communities. Rain truly is memory-laden.
The challenge is to accept the good and hard rain of life in the same way the writer of Lamentations spoke of his great hardship: "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lam. 3:22-23).
Meanwhile, it sure is wet out there.