“Drought,” my niece said looking out the window of the car as we drove out of the neighborhood. “We’re in a drought.”
“We are?” I looked to see what she was looking at.
It was just a green field, no brown patches, but I guess it was true that it hadn’t rained in a while. It was the typical spring dry season in Florida, after all, before the daily thunderstorms of summer arrived.
“Drought is one of her vocabulary words this week,” my sister explained.
“Yep, drought,” my niece said, still looking out the window. "D-R-O-U-G-H-T."
Fourth-grade vocabulary words.
I’ve felt a little parched too lately.
And about as inspired and lively as one of those headless statues I saw all over Rome.
It’s hard to write when I feel stressed and wilted and tired.
And when I say, read, I mean I decided to read more.
I always have a stack of books beside my bed that I'm meandering through, but maybe what I needed was to get lost in some really good books.
So I drove all the way downtown, to the county’s largest library.
|Library at the American Academy in Rome|
I roamed over three floors and checked out a huge stack of books.
Far too many to carry in The Great Gatsby tote bag I brought with me to stash them in as I wandered through the shelves.
When I got home, I started reading five or six to see which ones drew me in the quickest.
But after a week or two, that huge stack started stressing me out.
I knew I’d never get through them all, even if I renewed them several times, so I started skimming and reading faster.
I read while I ate, while I watched TV, and propped a book open while I blew-dry my hair.
It occurred to me that maybe this reading-to-relax idea was backfiring because I wasn't really feeling refreshed, revived or inspired.
Maybe instead what I really needed to do was just write.
But I had nothing to say. No ideas, no words.
A writing drought.
But I sat down at my desk anyway and started typing. Anything.
I know that words on the screen trickle into sentences, and even if they don't make complete sense at first, they eventually flow into paragraphs that slowly spring to life.
Because that’s the thing.
About writing, or whatever it is we do with the artistry, talents and abilities we've been given.
Even when we're depleted and lackluster, they somehow infuse us with passion and fulfillment and life again if we pour out what little we have and offer it up to God, while holding it out to those around us.
|Apartment in Rome|
Maybe it's not just a blog post.
Not just a penciled sketch or painted picture or a home-cooked meal or another packed lunch. It's not just a spreadsheet at work or another sale closed or the hundredth email returned.
It's more than time spent with a child's geography project or an out-of-the-way errand for a spouse or coffee with a friend.
It's where our purpose and passion collide in the abundant rushing stream that waters our souls, pours out refreshment, and anchors our roots deep in God's wisdom, knowing we can weather the next drought.
In due season, even though we might not see it yet, we know that God is doing a new thing in us.
And maybe we can't yet feel the streams trickling toward us that will end our dry season and desert-wandering, but we know they are on the way.
Just because we can't see the refreshing rain showers from where we are right now, doesn't mean the clouds that will revive us aren't on the horizon.
Faith is believing in the unseen and the yet-to-come.
So it rained last Saturday.
I'd checked the weather just the day before and the forecasters said there was no rain in sight.
But things can change overnight sometimes.
There were rain showers off and on all afternoon.
Just when I thought it was done, I got out my patio cushions and sat outside with my laptop, but it wasn't finished yet.
The raindrops sprinkled on my laptop keyboard and since the sun was still shining, I searched the sky for a rainbow.
I couldn’t find one, but my view was blocked by trees and the top of my screened patio.
I felt sure there must be a rainbow somewhere.
Maybe it's just a little further ahead of where my eyes can see right now.
A little note on the photos: the books are from the library at the American Academy in Rome and the garden photos are from Rome's public park, Villa Aldobrandini.
I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart.