Friday, June 06, 2008

The Rain

Yesterday the rain fell in buckets
and spoiled my son's parade.
It was to be his night for soccer,
and all God sent was rain.

"But the farmers need it badly,"
I stared into his tear-filled eye.
This was a teachable moment,
yet the student was not he, but I.

In our prayer at dinnertime
I told God my boy was sad.
But when I thanked God for the rain,
I could see my son grow mad.

"You shouldn't say that, dad,
that's mean! Don't thank God for the rain!"
I'd thrust on him false piety
and trivialized his pain.

Hours later we were able,
to talk about the farmers.
We talked about the grander scheme
and understood they needed water.

But I'd forced it on him earlier,
instead of letting him lament.
I'd taught him the right lines,
and forgotten what they meant.

We thank God because he cares for us,
and when we lament it is so too.
What's the point in praying
if the prayer isn't true?

With Christ it doesn't end there,
but he wept at Lazarus grave.
He had to know what was coming,
but he taught us how to grieve.

Is one lost rained-out soccer game
really all that big a deal?
It is if God has walked this earth,
and felt those thunders peal.

"Let the children come to me."
"Blessed are the poor in spirit."
We'd hear more people speak to God
if we ever stopped to hear it.

Parenting is hard, I know
but I must say this to my shame,
I could have led my son to talk to God,
instead I tried to clear God's name.

I think we must remember
that in real time Jesus cried.
Until we fathom what upset him
we cannot know for what he died.

So if we sterilize the pain
before it can be offered up.
We'll never share his body,
and we'll never drink his cup.

(If you think I make too much
of one small soccer game.
Think of when you asked for sun
and all God sent was rain.)

I can't pretend to know
why every raindrop falls,
but I think there is a reason why
we have our wailing walls.

There is a point to yearning,
for longing, hopeful tears.
There is a point to crying,
because there is a God who hears.


Tara said...

so well said.

Tony Tanti said...

Great poem.

My favorite line:

I could have led my son to talk to God,
instead I tried to clear God's name.

Maybe in the grand scheme a rained out soccer game is no big deal but it was to your son on that day and the principle works for bigger issues too, I think of Christians who are suffering who say "it will all work our for good..." rather than mourning.

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

I'm not much of an internetter these days, but I still check in here every few days. Today, Jon, you outdid yourself. This was strong, and really beautiful.

jon said...

thanks, each of you.