Sunsets and Droughts

by Micha

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We don’t have curtains up on our windows yet, but the wide windows in the living room and kitchen offer a view that takes my breath away every morning when I wake to the stars, and every afternoon when the sun glides away from us into another place.

It’s not supposed to be so beautiful here. This is supposed to be the rainy season. January and February bring rains to the fields. January and February are the months that allow the plants to grow, the months that feed us, feed the country that relies on all these California farms.

People laugh when they ask what neighborhood we’ve moved to. It’s the joke, the last stop on the way out of the city, “the suburbs” of San Francisco, single family homes stacked side by side and pavement, square boxes and 5 x 5 patches of grass in front for the lucky ones. Our neighborhood is so close to the ocean that the fog San Francisco is known for starts here, where we’ve planted ourselves. Soon, it will settle in around our new home. We won’t see anything but cloud out these windows for months. And that’s why we can afford to live in a house by the ocean. The fog changes everything. The sun will still set, but we’ll never see it passing its day above the ocean, tucked in behind the cool, thick mist.

So this clarity outside, these magnificent sunsets feel wrong and magical. Chris hurries home from work and I stop cooking dinner and we wonder out onto the patio to stare at the sky we shouldn’t be able to see. The sun slices itself into strips—orange and reds and pinks—and leaks across the sky’s dome.

And we stand and stare from our perch. Does anyone else see this? Is anyone else noticing? We feel alone on the porch, our kids stepping out to join us. We say, “Isn’t it beautiful?”

And we know. The rain should be here. The governor called for “good Californians” to conserve water, to do our part until the drought reverses.

I go back inside to finish searing the salmon. I stir the rice on the stove. Should I thank God for rainlessness, when its lack makes beautiful sunsets, when its lack is harmful to the land? Can I thank God for the wide windows and our need for curtains and the magic on display each night this week, even if shouldn’t be so lovely, so beautiful here?

I chop the salad and look up, over and over, as the color fades from the sky, and my husband plays with the boys in the other room. Some things just are. They just are as they are.

Can I thank God for rainlessness? I don’t know.

So I say it anyway, moving my gaze from stove to window.  Over and over, I say thank you.

 

Photo Credit: ((brian)) on Flickr


14 Responses to “Sunsets and Droughts”

  1. melody February 10, 2014 at 5:18 am #

    Beautiful.

  2. Joanna February 10, 2014 at 5:23 am #

    In my twenties I spent lots of time with deeply troubled teens. I once found a poster with a picture of a rainbow stretched across the skyline of a large city. The quote on the bottom said, “The searching heart finds hope in unexpected places.” Your post is a beautiful reminder of that truth. Thank you.

    • Micha February 10, 2014 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks for that reminder, Joanna. I struggle a lot with this and then usually come back around to the reality that hope has to be searched for, that if we can’t give ourselves permission to find joy in our ordinary lives, we’ll miss out on all the beauty. But there’s something important in the struggle, right?

  3. Bethany Bassett February 10, 2014 at 5:29 am #

    That’s something I turn over too in my mind–whether it’s okay for me to enjoy and thank God for things that are detrimental to others, even if I have no control over them, even if they are gifts that clearly reflect divine love to me. I think it started for me when I won an academic scholarship in my teens. As grateful as I was to receive it, and as positively as it changed my life, I couldn’t help worrying over the applicants who didn’t receive it. Did I have the right to celebrate when my joy necessarily caused others disappointment and hardship?

    When I disappear into these worry spirals today, my husband reminds me that I’m thinking too much… which, yes. True. I’m working on trusting that God doesn’t need me to agonize over the outcomes of things outside my control (the only story that I fully know is my own, after all) and thanking him without disclaimers. However, I’m also grateful for my tendency to worry about these things because it keeps me caring, and I never want the good things in my life to numb me to the plights of others. It sounds like you’re caught in that in-between place too, and I’m grateful for the company. :)

    • Micha February 10, 2014 at 10:28 am #

      Bethany, thanks for joining me in the Sisterhood of the Over-Thinkers! I really do keep coming back to the notion that the place of grace is in the struggle, in the wrestling. Because the world is always both beautiful and broken–always at the same time. And to follow God is to believe that the Spirit is present in both the pain and the joy…right now…at the same time. Maybe that’s how we learn gratitude and compassion? Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Chris Malkemes February 10, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    God is in control. He is Sovereign. He’s watching over you with goodness and the world is in perfect unison with His will. Droughts came even to Abraham, but God met Abraham on the other side of that drought. He always meets us on the other side. Yes. It is good to say thank You for no rain. He, the Master of the Rain, will provide. The beauty of knowing God is knowing God.

    • Micha February 10, 2014 at 10:29 am #

      Thanks for your thoughts, Chris…Love this: “The beauty of knowing God is knowing God.”

  5. Diana Trautwein February 10, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    You know I get this one, deep. And I pray daily for rain, I do. But I also say ‘thank you’ for the beauty that comes from the unusual sunshine, the clear skies. I think both can be true – and I think Joanna up there is right – this is a beautiful example of finding hope in the midst of discouragement. I have a little better idea of where you are now – not exact, but sorta.

    • Micha February 10, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      That’s one of the things I love about you and your theology, Diana. That both can be true. Always, at the same time.

  6. Amy February 10, 2014 at 11:27 am #

    Update that bio with a link to your book available for pre-order!!!

    xoxo

    • Micha February 10, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

      Well, isn’t that a smart idea, Amy! Ha! I’m a little slow in the marketing/self-promotional stuff. :) I’m on it!

  7. Julie Washington February 10, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    Sweet girl! Beautiful post. This one reminds me of how I feel about my kids. They are adopted. And I love them so much it hurts. But the more I love them, the more I am reminded that there is a beautiful woman who doesn’t get to love and hold them everyday. Because we live in a broken world. And though they are God’s most precious gift to me, I know they came to me because someone else was too hurt to care for them. It’s all filled with a whole lot of wonderful and a whole lot of not sure I understand. So I just try to be more grateful. Thanks for writing!

  8. idelette February 11, 2014 at 12:10 am #

    This is beautiful, Micha. I love Diana’s perspective–that both can be true. I am an ocean girl … I can stare and stare and stare. It’s the picture I go to in my head when I need to go to a happy place. God makes beautiful and draws us to Hope, even in the droughts.

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