Hard & Dry

Spring such as it was – was cold and rainy. Since June it has been a hot, dry summer with only occasional showers. The grass is as brown as it often is in August. The ground is parched and hard. It almost reminds me of the ground I saw in the Southwest on our sabbatical.

What surprised me there was the flash floods caused by rain, usually up in the mountains which would briefly fill dry arroyos with torrents of water. Despite the soil being so dry, in a hard rain the water runs off.  I always assumed such dry earth would be like a dry sponge soaking up the life-giving rain. But no.  The ground is so hard it is almost impervious to the rain water it needs so much. And a hard rain gives little relief to the hard packed dry ground. What is needed a slow gentle rain. The slow gentle rain begins to moisten the ground and allows it to accept more and more moisture.

Ground is not the only thing that can get hard and unreceptive. Our souls can feel like parched ground – brittle, not nurturing life – not able to access that which nurtures. And often want we want to try is some sort of quick and heavy infusing of spiritual resources (worship experience. retreat, scripture reading, book of faith, spiritual conversation, etc.)  to ends the drought.

Yet that often does not work well or for long. What we need is a slow, steady flow of resources to begin to open us up to receive the benefits. Otherwise it, as on the parched land simply rolls off of us and goes on its way leaving us little better than we were.  Rather than these sudden heavy spurts our souls are better nurtured and grown by small steady drops of spiritual practices and nourishment.  Reading a daily meditation. Taking 5 minutes in the middle of a busy day for quiet,  for prayer, for being in the presence of God – every day. Opens our spirits and creates in us what Isaiah referred to as a “lush garden within us” in which the fruits of the spirit can blossom and flourish. Where we can become the more that Gods call us to become.


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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