Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On Rain, Fourth, group, and Love

It's possible I did not know what peace was until I was sitting at my desk this afternoon, looking out my open window, breathing in the air drenched with fresh spring rain, watching puddles form in the uneven walkway leading to the front door of Hill.

Me and rain, we are friends. We have been for years. Rain is just refreshing. You can stand there, face tipped toward the clouds, hands open, palms being drenched, hair frizzing, as water drips down your neck. Whole body shudder and a deep breath in. Love.
As I walked up from the loop this afternoon, after seeing Holly to work, still texting Ben about church, I was so happy in the rain. It's a comfort and a constant in my life. I mean, I love sun (except when it betrays me and my skin flames pink), and snow is nice on occasion.

But rain...

It's the perfect weather. Whether you're outside or in, it just makes you feel cozy; you want to curl up with someone and talk about life, or go on a walk in rain boots and hoods and share in the majesty of creation.
This last summer, I went on a walk almost every day, either to write or just to see people. One of my favorite walks, though, was on a rainy day. Now, last summer was a bit unusual in that it really didn't rain all that much (way to go, Seattle, breaking those stereotypes). But this one morning, when I woke up and saw those clouds... I knew. So I set out for a walk when I knew the rain was soon to start. And sure enough, fifteen minutes later, right when I reached the waterfront, the rain started to fall in torrents.

Pure bliss.

As I walked back up the hill, hood pulled over my hair, hands shoved into sweatshirt pockets, I was just so happy, so filled up with the weight cleansing rain holds.

And today was not lacking in that cleansing.
It rained off and on all day. Nearing the dinner hour, though, it seemed to finally be settling into a substantial sun break. We had a night of love, of laughter, of forty fourth hillians crammed into one tiny Dahlstrom living room. Trying to count to thirty, eating tacos, giving hugs, my floor is my joy many days. These faces that I love so much, filing up to the door, shedding shoes in a mountain beside the couch. Screams of laughter, thoughts of love.

We filed out of the house, trekking toward Green Lake, frisbee ready. Team Bad Ass versus Team Awesome [later christened Team Better Than Team Bad Ass; even later, Team Douche Bag]. Running over wet grass, yelling, cheering, throwing, catching, name-calling, encouraging, falling: this is still love.
And then the rain decided he wasn't quite finished. The arc of a rainbow stretched over our field, a reminder that we have all, somehow, miraculously, been brought together by God. He lovingly planned these lives that we could know one another. What love.

After two resounding victories by Team Awesome/DB (go team, go team go), we walked back, tired, damp, grassy, smiling. Piling in cars, steaming up windows, heading to campus. A rush to put on dry shoes and get to group.

Halfway through our study of James, we land on this verse: "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be" (James 3:9-10)

Bob's notes on this verse struck a chord: "Is loving humanity a separate thing from loving God? Is it really a matter of spiritual importance, or just a side-note in our life of devotion to God? This is James' argument for why it matters: because human beings are the image of God, and for us to worship God means that we love one another. In the mind of James, it is completely absurd and contradictory to imagine that a person loves God and yet chooses to wound another human being. If you aren't utterly focused on loving humanity and yet you think that you're somehow worshiping your creator, you are mistaken. It's kind of exciting when you think about it... God's will for us isn't a hidden mystery - it's standing there staring us right in the face, in the form of each person we meet!"

This is amazing. Loving people is a spiritual act of worship. We do not fully understand God, and we cannot fully love God, if we do not find the need to love those around us. Brilliant.
Favorite verse for right now: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another" (John 13:34).
This is our call to love. Will we listen?


  1. Nice. And the rain is amazing I have to agree. And should totally come to Bethany:)

  2. Anna- you are a beautiful writer. you have no idea how much you encourage me through your words and your constant return to God's word and the truth of love.
    i love you. truly.