When The Rain Comes

Several years ago, the drought-prone city of Los Angeles began efforts to add more green spaces near roadways, replacing concrete with dirt and plants.  They also created "spreading grounds" that allow water to be soaked up by the earth. 

The idea was that with more dirt and plants, more water could be absorbed during the rainy season, which reduces flooding and conserves water for use when it's dry.  

There were critics aplenty of these efforts, to be sure.  More than a few of them leveled accusations of "wokeness" being the reason why so much of taxpayer's money was being used to make the changes. 

Then, the rain came in early February.  A lot of it. Record amounts. 

But because of the efforts to replace concrete with dirt and plants, along with all of its traditional dams, from February 4-7, Los Angeles captured 8.6 billion gallons of water, enough to provide 106,000 households water for a year. 

Michael Kiparsky, director of the Wheeler Water Institute at UC Berkely, stated: 

"No one driveway or roof in and of itself causes massive alteration of the hydrologic cycle, but combine millions of them in one area, and it does.  Maybe we can solve [the drought] problem with a thousand Band-Aids." 

I thought about this story as an illustration of how to change the world, which most of us would like to do but never believe we can make a difference. 

And I also thought about this story as an illustration of how keeping our hard concrete exteriors can damage ourselves and the world around us.  

So many of us have hardened ourselves out of what we believe to be self-defense as a reaction to the chaos and turmoil of our current culture.  We want the rain of our worries and fears to slide off us more easily. 

Meanwhile, we're creating floods that can't be controlled, and the life-giving water from those rains is being lost, wasted, and unused.  Our hardened exteriors are leading us to disaster. 

But when we remove the concrete and become vulnerable to the rain, we soon discover that whatever it might bring can be soaked up and give life to the now exposed ground of our lives. 

When more and more of us begin to learn this and break apart the hardness, it can change things for all of us, even those who cannot find the strength to be vulnerable.  

The storms of life might seem as though they are bent on destroying us at times, but if we have done the excellent work of preparing our souls for them, there will be fertile ground within us to absorb what lessons they have to give us. 

The reservoirs they fill will serve us well, not only us but our family and friends, co-workers, and even the strangers who encounter us.  Our willingness to be vulnerable opens us up for so much more than maintaining our hardness.  

May we be brave enough to break apart everything keeping us from growing and thriving and let the rains come without fear.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us now and always. Amen.  


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