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In the wake of spring rains irresistible puddles swell holes along woodland paths.

 

 

Eighteen-month-old Lily happened upon one, her rubbery legs encircling it with glee. Excitement mounted as the circles narrowed. Then, she paused at the puddle’s edge and jumped, water drenching her boots, her arms flailing at her sides. More circles followed with intervals of pausing and jumping. Instead of retreating to dry ground, she stooped over and rippled the water with a stick, stood up, then did it again. Her mother noted all of this beneath an oatmeal sky, and when Lily tired, gathered her in her arms and headed for home.

A simple story repeated around the world—it spoke of reckless abandon. Fearless, in full motion, focused, her senses totally engaged, Lily yipped with gusto—Certainly a desirable approach to new learning, when starting over.

And do we not start over with the gift of each day?

This prayer from The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous fires my attitude: We ask his protection and care with complete abandon.

I awoke with this dream:

It is late afternoon. I wander around a hilly wooded estate. Beneath the milky sky winter’s austerity deepens my melancholy as I kick piles of leaves that litter the path. Stringy sweet potato vines spill over the sides of a cobalt blue planter and trail along the ground. I’m dismayed to discover the leaves are heavy, molten together. Exhausted, I head toward the great house and one of the bedrooms. I huddle beneath the comforter. No one is around.

 In the dream I have little energy that mirrors ILD, a terminal lung condition I’ve had for several years; the late afternoon suggests its duration and perhaps the length of time I can expect before passing.

Images of death abound. What had been a greening woods filled with bird trills, insects, squirrels and rabbits have been silenced by killing frosts; burnt beyond recognition are leaves of sweet potato vines and tree debris languishing in wind-tossed piles. No warmth to warm my body. No moisture to soothe the scarred lung tissue.

I am alone. Rage crimps my psyche, eviscerates change. How water this acutely dry condition? How restore urgently needed color? I need help.

Then I remember. “In my Father’s house, there are many rooms…” I’ve been welcomed here before. Again, someone in the estate has made my oversized bed, for sleep, for more dreams and more direction, one day at a time—and the rains do come, despite shortness of breath and weakness and fatigue.

 

 

Ten minutes from home. Roiling clouds obscure the wan sun like a finicky lover. A breeze from the south assuages the nape of my neck, sticky with perspiration. Mist befogs my glasses, moistens my cheeks.

I’m going to get wet, perhaps very wet. In that split second my irritation morphs into acceptance: everything changes.

Around my fish-boots, rain polka-dots the sidewalk, then splatters into rivulets coursing along the curb toward the sewer. I relax into the wetness; its tentacles envelop me within their chill. I begin to laugh as I shelter beneath maples and oaks and catch my breath. It’s been awhile since I was drenched.

Then out into the open, the last stretch of my walk, and home. My scalp tingles, my chin drips, my shirt clings to my back, my pants etched with wavy designs—a waterlogged human. My laughter feels like orange sherbet.

“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.” So said the gifted country singer and song writer, Roger Dean Miller.

Is this not also how grace works in our psyches? Always proffered, but awash in distractions?

 

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