I have this evening ritual of watering the plants in our front yard. I used to be motivated by this fear that I would kill all the beautiful landscaping that had been done around our new house and then I would be forced to figure out how to actually garden for real. But, over time it has become one of those “staring times” I mentioned in my previous post. It is 15-20 minutes of mostly uninterrupted time; except when my 50-something neighbor comes out of his house listening to Justin Timberlake, what? It’s actually been a great time to reflect on the day, check in with the Lord, and pray.
The other day I went out to do my nightly watering and after a few minutes it started to rain. Which, you Texas-folk know, this is not a common occurrence. I didn’t stop watering at first because you Texans also know how the Texas sky can look like it’s about to rage, then it spits out a few drops like a wet sneeze, and finally the sun pops back out like the sky is proud of what just happened. A couple more minutes went by, and it turned into a steady rain. But, I just kept on watering until I was completely soaked.
And, besides thinking to myself how the JT listening 50-something was no longer the oddity on the other end of the cul-de-sac, I thought….this feels familiar?
A few days later I came across this verse,
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.
I was e-mailing with a friend a few days ago and described my longing for Brooklyn, the longing for Heaven, for right-ness as a kind of…thirst. You know that feeling when you’ve had a crazy morning and you’re going from one thing to the next, and suddenly you see a billboard or a commercial for an ice cold anything and suddenly you become keenly aware that you’ve got to have something to drink! It feels the same with my grief. On my good days I am usually trying to go about doing normal every day things and then I hear a baby cry in the aisle over at the grocery store, or an incredibly obnoxious commercial for a babysitting service pops on the TV screen with a woman holding 2 babies who says, “Got your hands full?”. It’s in those moments when I feel it the most. How is this great thirst quenched? I know when I get to be in Heaven, it will be. But, what about now? This day, this hour, this minute, this second. What I want is to feel satisfied with my baby in my arms, I want my thirst to care for, to nurture and to mother to be quenched. I want to see the curse of Brooklyn’s broken body to be undone. I want to experience good without the stench of evil lingering behind. Yet in all of this desire I am not cursed, He says I am blessed.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
It has felt safer to stay in my house. For a time, I needed that. And some days I still do. But, as I continue to seek comfort in its various forms, I think about watering the plants in the rain…one who waters will himself be watered. Thus far, my comfort has come through my couch, my bed, my bathtub, definitely a cup of tea, or a glass of wine now and again, but it might be time to step outside. It might be time to trust another crazy ass-backward thing that Jesus says and go engage someone else’s pain – to go learn how to comfort and bless in faith that I will find a depth of comfort and blessing I haven’t known yet.