On this labor day, I look out my window into a sea of green. Green leaves, green grass. The kind of green that only comes after a long, hard, rain. The greens that are still glistening with fat drops of water. It rained yesterday into the night. It poured. I thought of those who were so much closer to the eye of the storm. For those of us further away, the rain provided much-needed relief to a long, hot, dry summer.
Peeking out from the green, there are flashes of brown. A few brown pine needles that Crayola might call Burnt Sienna, and a handful of light brown oak leaves, clustered together at the end of a dying branch. There are some patches of brown grass, too. Grass scorched too deeply by the summer heat and drought to recover, perhaps for the season.
I don't know much about nature. I'm pleased to identify the pine, oak, cedar, and magnolia trees in our yard. The black walnut tree took a little longer to identify. I don't know much about nature, but I do know that trees and grass need water, or they will become parched, and perhaps even die. I know that it is better for that water not to come in periodic torrential downpours interspersed by dry heat, but rather to have consistent, gentle watering, along with the sun that feeds the chlorophyll.
It doesn't take a great leap to get from the movements of nature to the care of our spiritual lives. Torrential downpours, or mountaintop experiences, can do wonders, but it is the balance of daily, gentle watering that sustains our spirits through the seasons and through the years.
I have heard that if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. I find myself thirsting quite a bit. I tend to push myself too far, too long, ignoring my body's own signals that a break is needed, that nourishment is needed. And I tend to do the same with my spiritual care.
Jesus said that whoever drinks of the water he gives will never thirst. That water can come in many forms, but drinking regularly from the fountain of the Word will keep one hydrated before feeling the thirst. If you start to feel thirsty, that's an early sign of dehydration. But even in times of drought, there is water enough to quench the soul, and to make all things green.