Dancing in the Rain

However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. – Ecclesiastes 11:8 (NIV)

If they’d seen me, my neighbors would have thought I’d lost it.

“Look at that crazy woman dancing in the rain,” the newer neighbors might have said.

“She’s doing what?” the ones who’d known me for 30 years may have questioned.

My husband said both—within hearing.

But the Saturday afternoon sun was sweltering, and sweat oozed from every pore of my body as I transplanted, with the help of my 8-year-old granddaughter, my cascading calibrachoa into a larger flowerpot. I thought the job would be fairly simple—lining the bottom of the new pot with stones, dumping in some potting soil, then lifting the plant from the old pot into the bigger one. But the wider pot left a gap between the lip and the roots.

For a woman who wipes the counter after every little spill and pinches every penny, this was the dirty, time-consuming part of the job—scooping potting soil from the bag and shaking it into the gap, careful not to get any on the stone wall or in the grass. Dirt, as you all know, sticks to sweaty skin. By the time I was done, I felt pretty cruddy. Thank God for garden hoses and outside spigots—and summer rain showers.

Just as we finished rinsing out the old flowerpot and hosing off the stone wall, I glanced down the hollow. A sheet of gray headed our way. Hurrying to retrieve the bedsheets from the clothesline, I motioned to my husband, who was astride the lawn tractor, mowing three weeks’ worth of growth.

As we stood on the back porch, I had the strangest urge to dance in the rain. There was no thunder, no lightning—only a warm, refreshing summer shower. I stepped off the porch. As my husband and granddaughter watched in disbelief, I opened my arms wide and lifted my face to the sky.

I beckoned to my granddaughter. “Come on.”

She raised her eyebrows.

“It’s just water,” I said. “It won’t hurt you.”

As she gingerly stepped off the porch, I handed my eyeglasses to my husband.

“Come on,” I urged him. “Don’t be such an old fuddy-dud. Have some fun.”

He just grinned. Madison joined me in a few barefoot twirls. All too soon the shower ended. I was soaked to the skin—and happier than I’d been in a long time.

I used to be impulsive, frequently succumbing to a restless spirit. But time and life tamed my youthful wildness—and squeezed a certain joy out of my soul, boxing me in with a messy kitchen, piles of laundry, floors that needed swept, and bathrooms that grew mold.

Every now and then you gotta ignore that boring to-do list and do something crazy and spontaneous, even if you’re pushing 60 … maybe because you’re pushing 60.

This is the day that the LORD has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).

Dear God, help me to squeeze the joy out of every day—even if it means being a little “crazy.” Amen.

 Read and meditate on Psalm 100.

© 2010 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Memorial Stones

 

These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever. – Joshua 4:7 (NIV)

Sept. 11, 2001, dawned clear and bright. Fall was in the air—in the coolness of the misty morning, in the hints of red, yellow and orange beginning to splash the hillsides, in the honking of geese winging overhead. America shut off the alarm clock, rolled out of bed, opened the curtains and let in the day. With coffee in hand, we set off to work.

By 9 a.m. our world had profoundly, irreversibly changed. By noon we’d gone from disbelief to numbing shock. By evening we vowed, “We will not forget!”

And we haven’t. One of the most tragic days in American history was also one of our finest. We looked in the mirror on that watershed day and said, “We are America.” And then we showed the world what makes America the greatest nation on earth.

America is a land of opportunity. We still open our arms to the tired, poor, huddling masses yearning to breathe free. To those homeless, tempest-tossed souls the lamp is still lifted beside the golden door. In every community modern day immigrants practice medicine, serve cultural cuisine, sell cars. Some are so desperate they sneak in. Don’t let anyone fool you. Opportunities abound in the home of the brave. But that isn’t what makes America great.

America is a land of prosperity. We have houses for our cars. We have closets jam-packed with clothes we grew out of or that we forgot we owned. We have winter clothes and summer clothes. We have footwear for every occasion. We have everyday dishes and good dishes. We have bank accounts, credit cards, investments, retirement plans. We have boats and swimming pools and RVs and motorcycles and four-wheelers and garages so full of stuff that we don’t have room for the car. We eat three square meals a day and then some. Diet and exercise businesses are booming. But our material wealth isn’t what makes America great.

America is the land of the free. We work and still have time to play. We race cars and horses and the clock. We are free to worship and work where we choose. We are free from want and, for the most part, from fear. We have homeless shelters and Homeland Security. We have soup kitchens and supersonic jets. We have policemen, firemen, EMTs, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the military protecting and aiding us. We can be whatever we want to be, go where we want to go. We can choose who, what, when, where, and how. We have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But freedom isn’t what makes America great.

What, then, makes America great?

Its generous heart, resilient spirit and can-do attitude. The Spirit of America born on the shores of Plymouth Rock nearly four centuries ago was found on Sept. 11, 2001, in the rubble that was the World Trade Center and in the wreckage of a plane that slammed into a Pennsylvania field.

Plymouth+Rock+%284%29.jpg (390×260)

On a memorial stone, those stalwart Pilgrims inscribed: “This spot marks the final resting place of the Pilgrims of the Mayflower. In weariness and hunger and in cold, fighting the wilderness and burying their dead in common graves that the Indians should not know how many had perished, they here laid the foundations of a state for which all men for countless ages should have liberty to worship God in their own way. All ye who pass by and see this stone, remember, and dedicate yourselves anew to the resolution that you will not rest until this lofty ideal shall have been realized throughout the earth.”

We will not forget Sept. 11, 2001. We will not forget that for a moment evil prevailed. We will not forget how, by the grace of God, we rolled up our sleeves and went to work, fighting that evil with goodness. We will not forget who and what we are. Let our memorial stones reflect the spirit of America.

God, bless America, land that I love. Amen.

Read and reflect on Joshua 4:1–9, 20–24.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

People gather around stones that are part of a new 9/11 Memorial Glade on May 30 on the grounds of the National September Memorial and Museum after the Glade's dedication ceremony in New York. Set in a glade of trees during the spring 2019, the granite slabs recognize an initially unseen toll of the 2001 terror attacks: firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after exposure to toxins unleashed in the wreckage.

People gather around stones that are part of a new 9/11 Memorial Glade on May 30 on the grounds of the National September Memorial and Museum after the Glade’s dedication ceremony in New York. Set in a glade of trees during the spring 2019, the granite slabs recognize an initially unseen toll of the 2001 terror attacks: firefighters, police and others who died or fell ill after exposure to toxins unleashed in the wreckage. (AP file photo)