Walking along downtown Chicago’s Wabash Ave. at night, the Trump hotel across the Chicago River was impossible to ignore thanks to the giant letters on its face. It was an ominous presence on this misty night.
My house isn’t much, just a little brick ranch, but I like it. The neighborhood is in slow decline, but it’s quiet. And all five times I’ve accidentally left my garage door up all day while I was at work, nobody robbed me blind.
My house backs up to a golf course. Lest you think I live in a hoity-toity golf community, know that the neighborhood came first by 25 years. And I don’t golf.
That’s not a water hazard in the photo, or at least not one the golf course planned. It’s what happens every time it rains. Water pools everywhere. My next-door neighbors, who’ve lived there for going on 30 years, tell me it was a lot worse before the golf course was built. It was a farm field then, and when it rained water ran into all of our back yards. I’m sure it filled my crawl space with water. But my neighbors’ house is on a concrete slab, and so the water just ran under their back door and into their kitchen. They love the golf course, not so much for the constant barrage of golf balls that land in their back yard, but for the way it leveled out the land. It really drains so much more effectively now.
That is, except when it really rains – and the 14th fairway becomes a river.
This happens a couple times every spring. Every time it does, my sump pump runs all night, making me wish it weren’t under my bedroom. Ah, homeownership.
We’ve had a lot of rain this summer. Too much. My sump pump has worked overtime. Water has stood in ponds on the golf course behind my house. My grass is drowning and the weeds are taking over. Storms have left me without power three times.
But after a storm passed late one evening a beautiful light came through my home office window as I worked at my computer. A cool breeze wafted through the open window. I walked out onto the deck to enjoy both. I’m glad I reached for my camera on the way.
As a slobbering Paul McCartney fan I bought his most recent CD, Memory Almost Full, the day of its release last year. I even ponied up extra for the two-disc special edition with bonus songs and commentary, in which Paul said he often writes songs around a lick and a phrase with no particular meaning in mind. He said it delights him when people explain to him what his songs mean when he doesn’t even know himself!
My young sons dig the Band on the RunCD. When I play it in the car, before long all three of us are singing along. I first heard the album through in the mid 1980s and took a fancy to “Mamunia,” the first song on side two. I played it on my college radio shows often enough that I got to know every scratchy noise on the station’s well-used record. But only recently did this song have a meaning for me. To me, the song is about what James said: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
The rain comes falling from the sky, To fill the stream that fills the sea And that’s where life began for you and me
Rain brings life.
So the next time you see rain it ain’t bad, Don’t complain it rains for you, The next time you see L.A. rainclouds, Don’t complain it rains for you and me.
Life will rain on you sometimes. Accept the rain; it’s meant for you!
It might have been a bright blue day But rainclouds had to come this way They’re watering everything that they can see.
You never know when it will rain on you.
A seed is waiting in the earth For rain to come and give him birth It’s all he really needs to set him free, So the next time you see L.A. rainclouds Don’t complain, it rains for you.
Without rain – the challenges and difficulties you face – you can’t break free and grow to maturity.
So lay down your umbrellas Strip off your plastic macs. You’ve never felt the rain my friend, Till you’ve felt it running down your back.
Have you ever played in the rain and enjoyed letting it soak you? When difficulties come your way, put down your defenses and face them with joy!
So the next time you see rain, it ain’t bad Don’t complain, it rains for you. The next time you see L.A. rainclouds Don’t complain it rains for you and me.
And in this way, rain brings life! What joy there is in growth!