Monday, April 09, 2012
Morning Thanks--The Easter circus
The unimaginable warmth of this already lengthy spring had me cutting the lawn on Saturday, at least a month before I normally pull the starter cord on my Toro. My wife said it didn't really need to be done, but cutting the grass isn't something I mind doing, especially when the alternative is reading student papers. It was windy, but warm, and dusty, noticeably dusty, that mower kicking up clouds here and there where the sun don't shine, like mid-July almost, I noticed.
It's very dry here, and yesterday, Easter, in church, a man stood up at prayer time to say he thought it was time for us to ask for rain. He's not wrong. These last six weeks of perfect early summer weather made the request sound almost disappointing--we need to pray for rain? Yeah. Rats.
He's right. But it got me to thinking about how much of a tightrope we walk in so many ways. For weeks and weeks our weather has been almost divine, almost too divine. No spring snow, but no spring rain either. Hence, those billowing clouds of dust from the lawn mower. Agriculture drives almost everything in Siouxland; a dust bowl would be catastrophic.
All of which is to say that maybe this perfect weather hasn't been perfect at all. What we need is a good storm or two or three or four, or a whole week of rain. I know it would help, but it sort of hurts to ask for it. Really.
That man's request came at the end of a bi-lingual worship, Spanish and English, that had to rank as one of the most wonderfully celebratory Easter services I've ever been part of. It wasn't a first--I've sat through bi-lingual services before, and know they can be bulky and awkward for a ton of reasons. But this one was smooth and sweet, stem to stern. Joyful, like the weather.
At one point, our preacher was talking about Christ's choice to reveal himself first to Mary Magdalene, not to Peter and John, and what that choice said about Jesus, Mary being, of course, a woman first of all, but also a one-time victim of demon possession. Mary was, for all intents and purposes, he said, like an illegal.
Most of the gringos in church on Easter morning, like me, were quite sure that a goodly number of our Hispanic friends--co-worshipers--are illegals. So yesterday we legals shared a sanctuary with a whole crowd of people who moment to moment live and walk constantly on a tightrope.
But then I suppose we all do. A woman asked for prayer because she's going in today to discover if that lump in her breast is cancer. Another woman, a woman whose husband lugs oxygen into church, said on Tuesday the two of them would be going in because he needs those lungs of his checked. Pray for good reports, she said.
All of us live on a tightrope between life and death. Three are dead in Tulsa because a couple nights ago two men went stark raving mad with hate. This morning my ticker reminds me that it's still bound to run wild every once in a while. I have no idea what retirement is going to be like. Right now, it appears in my imagination in the kind of splendor our weather has provided since early March. But we need rain too.
Just because I'm not illegal doesn't mean I'm not walking a tightrope--or you either, I suppose. Really, when you come to think about it, we're all aboard a high wire most every day of our lives.
On a windy, dry day, in a church full of illegals, I sat right smack dab in the middle of a whole circus of tightrope walkers, each of whom heard, once again, that the real story is not that we're not dangerously up high somewhere on a high wire, but that not one of us is up there without a net--none of us. Easter was the story yesterday.
And that's my morning thanks.