A Prayer for Rain

My mind is clouded with smoke.  Embers of sadness pull at me, while the miserably hot, windy days continue to come and go.

Colorado is aflame.

The images of trees exploding instantly into flame haunt me.  Evacuation orders for entire towns make my stomach churn with worry.  And the images of over 250 homeless families, sleeping on makeshift cots, displaced with only ashes remaining of their homes and their entire life’s belongings makes my heart hurt.

Entire tracts of land, mountains and hills left with only a black, ashy scar of what once was.  Trees, grass and wildlife only a distant memory now, something we will not see recover in our lifetimes.

All I can offer is a prayer for rain.  I have no other option but to beg Him to quietly send moisture to fall upon our dry land, calming the smoke, the flames and the hurt.

Dear Lord,

Bless us with some relief from the drought, the fires and the smoke
That threaten these places we love, Oh Lord.
Cover this burning land with a blanket of your clouds,
Releasing raindrops to give life back to this dry land,
Let their cool wetness calm the smoke, the flames and the hurt in our hearts.
Fill our rivers, from trickles to streams again.
Quell the winds, even momentarily, to deflect the flames
To push them back in their tracks, instead of hurtling them forward.
Provide us with tools to put the roar of these fires out.

Bless, Oh Lord, those families who find themselves homeless,
Empty, heartbroken with loss and overwhelmed,
Give them hope that You will provide for them those things they need.
Bless them with sweet memories of their homes and land
And give them a sense of peace and renewal,
To face each new day with strength, courage
And gratitude for even the smallest of blessings along the way.

Watch over those fighting on the front lines,
Bless them with cool relief in the face of a scalding enemy,
Bless them with rest to reinvigorate them to continue fighting,
Bless them with hope that their fight is not in vain,
And as impossible as it may seem, give them faith that it is possible.
Hold them closely and keep them safe, Oh Lord, in their battles.

And with the fast fury of the flames approaching,
Remind us of Your powerful presence, and Your ability to calm them.
With the tall, billowing plumes of smoke,
Remind us of the hope You give us for the future.
With the temporary quieting of hot, unrelenting winds,
Remind us that all things are possible through You.
And with the feeling of overwhelming loss,
Remind us that all things grow again through you, Oh Lord.

A Season Passed

Nothing lasts. That shouldn’t come as such a surprise in our world today.  Where needs and desires are met in an instant, the anticipation, the thrill of waiting, wondering, hoping and desiring has been lost.  It has been given up for the here and the now.  So why is it still so hard to see things come to an end?

Things end.  Flowers wilt and fade.  People we love die.  Relationships end.  But knowing that these things happen, doesn’t make it any easier.

I literally watch my flower garden daily.  I know it by heart. I can sense the stone that has been barely budged by a grazing mule deer wandering through.  I notice immediately the stand of bee balm that has been separated through the middle by one of my cats, searching for a shady place to nap.  The wind that has laid a single stem of one of my peony blooms over onto the muddy ground.   The tiny rose bud that was stolen, bitten off in the middle of the night by a roaming herbivore.  So why is it, we don’t always notice the other things happening around us?  How are we still taken by surprise when things don’t work out?

One of my favorites, Gomphrena "Fireworks", in the height of its profuse bloom during summer's exhausting season.

I can’t help but think of the end of the summer season.  All summer I water carefully, I weed constantly and I deadhead with the promise of continued blooms.  By the end of the summer, a part of me almost wills it to come.  A freeze to finally end the chaos, the obsession, the never-ending preening and pruning.  I’m ready for it all to end.  I’m ready to say goodbye to my potted plants that have turned leggy in the heat of late summer.  I’m ready to bid adieux to my coneflowers that have faded from brilliant and bright to faded pastels that are almost not a color at all.  I’m ready to enter into a cooler, slower time where I can look back and be thankful, but also look forward to a time of reversal.  A time to look ahead, while not being caught up in the overwhelming tasks of today. To dream.  To renew.  To inspire new greatness.  Don’t we all need this?

If this is so evident in my garden, why is it so difficult to realize in other aspects of life?  Why is the natural rhythm of our world and life, so difficult to accept sometimes?

My Gomphrena at the end of it's long bloomig summer season. A time for renewal and revival.

Just like my garden here in the Rocky Mountains, life ebbs and flows and seasons come and go.    Even in the darkest and coldest of months, things are still alive and growing.  Like roots slowly pushing out into the frozen soil around them, we too can continue to grow even in darkness and despair.  Like the hibernating perennial, we also can know that spring will again come. The warm sunshine will return.  But in the down time, when we’re not required to bloom profusely, we can take time to strengthen our own foundations and prepare for an even bigger summer season ahead.

Tonight I’m praying for a friend.  Someone that may need courage, or may not.  Someone that may need advice, or may not.  Someone that may simply find herself needing encouragement, faith and the hope of renewal and a new beginning.

Like my garden in winter, I pray that these darker, colder times may give her the chance to grow where she wants to grow, the courage to face the unknown around and within her and the faith to always remember that springtime is but just around the corner.