The monsoon season is here. Summer in New Mexico usually means sunny mornings and increasing heat, followed by the buildup of towering clouds and spectacular afternoon thunderstorms. I love the smell of rain, the coolness of the storms in contrast with summer’s heat, and the fact that all of my garden gets watered without my need to devote time and energy to the process.
Last week was no exception to the monsoon pattern, and even the 250-gallon rain barrels we installed last year seemed to fill up in an instant. In fact, there were days last week when I began to feel a bit overwhelmed with the overflowing rain barrels. They’re great for collecting scarce water, but when the water isn’t scarce, they overflow and I found myself worrying about damage to our home’s foundation.
Of course, it’s easy to make sure there’s nothing blocking the flow of water away from our house, because we live on a gentle slope and the space is well-designed. As I reflected more deeply on my fears, I realized that they had more to do with fearing the overflow because it was out of my control. I couldn’t turn off that water spigot in the sky; the rain was just going to keep on pouring down.
So what could I choose to do instead? For one thing, I could embrace the rain. When no lightning lingers, I could even go out and dance with the raindrops! Unlike the wicked witch of the west, I don’t melt. In fact, I could probably benefit from being a bit more wild and carefree than is my usual tendency!
I also struggle with accepting my lack of control in other areas of my life. It’s common as a freelancer to find myself talking about “feast or famine,” but I could just as easily say that “my rain barrel is overflowing” when the work piles up on me. Managing a high volume of work can be as challenging as managing a full rain barrel. Do I say no to a project, presuming there’s enough work to keep the rain barrel full? How much do I micromanage the level of water, as opposed to letting is spill over, sharing the wealth with others? Can I trust that it will rain again? In July, probably. Come September, not so much.
And yet…perhaps a better response is to celebrate the overflowing of work during the rainy season and trust that there will be work enough in the drier times of year. There is, after all, one client who always has work available, and I can dip into that well if my rain barrel runs completely dry. When I remember that, and remind myself that I am not in control—of the rain or the workflow—then I am freer to focus my time and energy on what is in front of me in each moment.
As Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…. Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ … For [God] knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:25-34)
Do you worry about those things over which you have no control? Can you embrace the overflowing rain barrels in your life and dance with the raindrops, trusting that there will be enough water in the future?