Non-Religious Christian Spirituality


Rain is falling outside the open window at my desk. Seems ages since I’ve heard the sound in the midst of this drought. I can almost hear the earth gratefully absorbing each drop, feel it slide all the way down like a cold drink on a hot day. Hard to work with my attention continually drawn outside. School children and parents walking to school under umbrellas; a little girl’s voice cuts through: my hair’s wet. So I give up for a few moments to write this. Reminds me of another moment just over twenty years ago that I captured in a journal entry. Before blogs, before another twenty years of life. But I can’t say it any better today…

Monday 2/7/94, 6:35 AM

Storm has been coming for two days. Right on schedule, storm is here.

Not much of a storm right now, just a gentle rain in the gray outside my half-opened window. The rain is hard enough to make continuous sound, but still light enough to hear individual drops. As I listen I can hear where they are falling: on concrete or the wide leaves of shrubbery, on the steel drums of the barbecue pits. I can hear where they are in space: some close, others falling into the middle distance of the courtyard, others much softer, blending into delicate white noise several hundred feet away. Little drops have made it through the maze of barren branches to directly hit their targets; other, larger drops have collected on branches or rain gutters and hit with a heavier splat.

It all makes a beautifully spacious music. I can’t tell you how pleasing it is to sit here in natural light and just be here sitting in natural light. Sitting. Listening. Trying to write, but drifting back off into the rain.

This storm has been coming for two days. I heard about it Saturday morning. After the rain Friday the air was clean and the patches of sky between the high, shifting cumulus formations were very blue. The way it only is here after rain. Immediately after. And I thought about this storm still hundreds of miles out to sea, squalling uselessly over the face of the water, unheeded except by satellites passing overhead and occasional ships underneath. After all, the fish couldn’t get any wetter.

It has been coming all this time. While I had lunch and read. While I came home and worked at the computer until 11:30. While I was running yesterday morning before church. While my pastor thundered his sermon. While I bought a friend a birthday present and then worked again at the computer until it was time to go to the birthday dinner.

And sometime while I slept, it arrived. The leading edges of the cloud system looked blindly down as the monotonous face of the water gave way to white diagonal lines of breakers dissipating against the sand and then to the strip of coastal highway beyond the sand and the six, short miles of rooftops and parking lots until it looked down and did not see the little, wooded courtyard outside my window.

Sometime while I slept the wind picked up a bit. Sometime while I slept the first drops began to fall.

All this without my knowledge or permission or volition. While I lived my last two days. While I slept. I simply wake up to the gift of this beautiful sound. To an hour of precious solitude with my window and my Lord and these words–that you had no idea were being written for you, while you lived your life and slept, and that have been on their way to you ever since; until the pages were placed in your hands to sit on your shelf; until you first cracked the cover and waded through page after page until you came to this very word.

And then moved on.

I am told the storm will last until tomorrow. Then we will have another  clean, blue day. Eventually we will have another storm. I don’t know when. I am glad not to know such things. To wake up and find that storms need nothing from me, but graciously include me in all they have to give.

Eventually we will have another storm. I will try to spend some time with it also.


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