Being raised in a part of New York where we get approximately 100 clear, bright, sunny days, I grew up hearing (and saying), "I hope it doesn't rain." Rain meant the cancellation of fun, outdoor events. Rain meant gloomy weather (though, I always found the dark, brooding clouds beautiful in a mysterious, 19th-century novel sort of way.) Rain was undesirable.
Now, living in a dry, dry region, we hope and pray for rain. "Enshallah (‘God willing’), it will rain tomorrow,” we say. Here, rain means new life. Rain means full cisterns. Rain now means the provision of a resource necessary for life. We need the rain now, during the wet season, to sustain us through the months of dry weather that follows.
"I hope it rains." I mean the sentence with all my heart, but it still rings funny in my ears.
I have another reason for wanting rain. Deep in my fanciful, childish heart, I wonder if the rain has cleansing capacities for this land. Water cleanses people; can it cleanse lands, too? Maybe if it rained enough, it could wash away the grief, displacement, and oppression permeating this land. Could torrents of rain sweep away racism? Could a downpour erase enmity? Could a deluge cleanse the land, making it new, readying it for peace?
Will you join me in praying for rain?
About this Blog
"Ordinary People" is something of an intentional misnomer. I live and work with Palestinians practicing nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. They are doing things that are hardly "ordinary": committing themselves to active nonviolence and to loving their enemies -- following the commands of One who was anything but ordinary. And yet, the Palestinians with whom I work are also very ordinary -- they are not some kind of spiritual superheroes/superheroines who do things most folks can't do. They are simply ordinary people daily committing themselves to living a higher calling -- a calling of love and active nonviolence.