The rains have returned. Like a balm upon the earth, each fall the rain and gentle breezes of October soften the soil and bring the coziness of warm sweaters and hot apple cider.
When I first moved to the Seattle area, in 2006, I was worried that the rain would be a real downer and that it would be a difficult transition for this hearty Midwesterner. But I learned two things that year.
1. While Seattle does officially have the most cloudy and rainy days, Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I spent most of my childhood has almost the exact same amount of rain and clouds – PLUS SNOW.
2. I commented on the misty, cloudy nature of the sky to my friend Seong, and she said, “Isn’t it the best? It’s like getting a hug from God.” And that has stuck with me.
But what I notice most is that I become a true viridiphile. As the days grow shorter, it is profound how lush and green everything becomes. The grass emerges from its dormancy, the moss becomes dazzling to the eye, and even the very air seems to have a chartreuse tint to it.
It can be so tempting when things seem gray and dark to recess into ourselves and hunker down. Especially when so many things are changing in our congregation and in our lives. But I want to encourage you to think of this as a season of harvest and renewal.
From Psalm 147…
7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
8 He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
Take this opportunity to sit by the window in a room with a warm fire and reflect on where you are seeing verdant growth both in this congregation and in yourself.
What has changed for me in the last two years? Where can I see God at work?
What good things have happened in our congregation that I did not expect?
Where is God leading me to renew my life? Where have I been dormant?
Try to write a verse or a song or a haiku about how you are feeling spiritually in these days. Reading Psalm 147 reminds us that God brings seasons as they are needed, and loves our songs in response.
One last thought: When first looking at the beach of the Salish Sea, it can seem monochromatic – shades of gray and green, and more gray. But when you get close to it, turn over the rocks, and truly look closely, it’s amazing how vibrant and stunning the variety of colors can be. The same is true for each of us in this season. People often comment, “I’ve lived here my whole life, and never seen the colors and creatures that you find at the beach!” I pray that we each can savor the ability to see more than just a first impression as we move through this time, and spring to new life in this season of growth and comfort.
Peace and love,