July 27, 2012
The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
I awoke last night to the sound of rain. My reaction was similar to what I would have experienced had a close friend, I had not heard from for a long time, called me in the middle of the night and woken me up. At first I felt a bit annoyed at being awakened, but that feeling soon gave way to the joy of hearing from an old friend. It felt good to reconnect. Here in Wisconsin, just as in many other parts of our country, it's been a long time without rain. The heat and drought of 2012 has been devastating to farmers and to so many others who either work outside, do not have air conditioning, or are adversely affected by heat.
There is much to be learned from this summer's drought regarding wholeness and wellness, believe it or not. The first lesson is the importance of balance. In northern climates, we wait all winter for the warmth and sunshine of summer. We long for hot, sunny summer days. And yet, now that all that we have are hot, sunny days, we now find ourselves longing for cool, rainy ones. Anything in excess--even something as wonderful as warmth and sun--will eventually compromise our wellness. Working in excess will eventually compromise our wellness. Excessive busyness will, too. Even exercise--a very good thing in and of itself--if taken to extremes will break down our wellness. Excessive religiosity can also do the same. Nature needs the balance of sun and rain, and we need a balanced focus of heart, soul, strength, and mind in our own lives.
The fact that there will always be seasons in our lives when things that are happening to us are beyond our control is the basis for a second lesson. Droughts come in many forms--in body, mind, and spirit. The loss of a loved one. A scary diagnosis. A dark night of the soul. A relationship growing cold. A job loss. Bad things happen to farmers and other good people as well. Droughts are humble reminders that we do not control as much in our lives as we would like to think we do.
We do, however, have control over how we respond to the droughts in our lives and in the lives of others. Proud farmers everywhere are having to ask for help this summer. Some farmers who have been blessed with more rain are inviting farmers from hundreds of miles away to move their livestock to their farms for better grazing. Some states are opening public lands from which farmers can temporarily harvest hay for their cattle.
Asking for help, doing things we would never have dreamed of before to get along, and coming together as a community serves everyone well, whatever type of drought we are experiencing. And if we are blessed to be experiencing greener conditions in our own lives, we can reach out to someone we know who is experiencing a dry season in his or her life right now. We can provide the living water they desperately need.
To everything there is a season.
A time for sun and a time for rain.
A time to ask for help and a time to offer help.
A time for abundance and a time for scarcity.
A time to for green pastures and a time for patience.
A time to sleep soundly and a time to be gloriously awaked by a rain storm.