Practicing Lent: Rain at Winter’s End

?Look, a little cloud no bigger than a person’s hand is rising out of the sea!??
~I Kings 18:44

I love the way the rain comes at winter’s end
to hose down the sooty earth,
and wash away the dirt that comes from who-knows-where.

Oh God, I need a cleansing rain in my life,
dirty as I am with the grit and grime of these dark years.
My heart is hard and crusty
like patches of old snow in the yard,
my life littered with trash I don’t recognize
and dead, brown grass where it used to be so green.

Today I would settle for a little cloud
no bigger than a person’s hand
far off in the distance
rising out of the sea of this disillusionment.

Today, if I saw such a cloud
I would run like Elijah–
loins girded,
strengthened by the hand of the Lord
in hopes that I could be there when the deluge came.

Warm rain
Softening the hardness of my heart
Washing away the pain
Enlivening this dead earth.

Today, if I saw even a hint of such a cloud,
I would lay myself down upon the earth
and bow my heart low
Waiting for the miracle that would signal the changing of the season
the end of this drought
the coming of spring
in the winter of my heart.

©Ruth Haley Barton, 2008

Ruth Haley Barton

(Doctor of Divinity, Northern Seminary) is Founder and Chief Essence Officer of the Transforming Center. A teacher, seasoned spiritual director (Shalem Institute), and retreat leader, she is the author of numerous books and resources on the spiritual life including Life Together in Christ, Pursuing God’s Will Together, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Sacred Rhythms, and Invitation to Solitude and Silence.

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