Wash Me Clean

I don’t know if you know it, but we’ve had a very dry season here in Shelton.  With the hillside behind my house catching fire and another fire just last week closer to downtown, it’s been a rockety ride.  A warm, dry summer that lasted into October is a rare thing for us.  Generally, our warm season ends abruptly with a huge storm or something, as if God was saying, “All right, it’s done.  Here’s your transition.  Time to move on.”  Not in a mean way, of course, but like a good dad, firmly and clearly.

This morning though, I awoke to no constant drumming of rain.  The storm to end summer started last Friday and fizzled out early this morning, with a few breaks in between, dropping 2 inches of rain.  But now, the sun was out!  I saw the sky, new-washed and blue.  The drier weather kept the leaves on the trees, their variegated colors ranging from summer green to flame to gold to bright red.  So gorgeous, this autumn.

I had to get out in it.  Who knew when this opportunity would come again?  Us Northwesterners gotta slurp up all the vitamin D we can. I inhaled the air, damp and redolent of wet earth and downed leaves.  I took an easy run around the neighborhood.  I thought about how the rain cleanses the air and everything it touches.  Dust and pollen had covered my poor Pepper-car for weeks.  I washed it pretty regularly, okay, sometimes, but then it got too cold to mess with outdoor water anything.  One time I poured water on the driver side window glass just so I could get out of the driveway, but it was a bit clunky and ineffective.  I even squirted windshield wiper fluid out of the dispenser, but it was no use. So I had to wait for the rain to start up to clean off the windshields really well.

This morning, Ruby emerged from her bedroom with inked hands and face.  She’d been drawing several animals and people in a little notebook and chose a permanent ink pen.  Not good.  She washed and scrubbed her hands and face.  It didn’t budge much.  I took a couple of turns, too, but she still has what looks like a third blue nostril, dead blue fingernails and a slightly blue-black left eye.  Soaking in the tub and repeated washings will take it off, eventually. The consistent “rain” of soap and water and bleach will cleanse her epidermis.

The rain from our heart manifests as tears.  Tears can cleanse out the anger, bitterness, disappointment and even sometimes joy. So this kind of “rain” readies us for transition and new things.  We’ve been taught not to cry – especially boys – as it shows weakness.  I disagree.  Crying only shows you’re still alive, to quote one of my favorite songs of the moment. It allows you to leave the old behind and prepare for the new. Your heart and mind and spirit become a clean slate. Include the “water of the Word” for thorough cleansing, too. There is a time for mourning, Ecclesiastes says, and a time to rejoice.  Embrace your season.


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