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Bloom Where You Are Planted

Bloom Where You Are Planted

It’s 6 pm and 111 degrees Fahrenheit outside. The sun’s still up, but gradually moving toward the western horizon. It’s been sunny all day, and it looks like it will continue to be that way for some days yet. For those who have had lashings of rain and inclement weather, I’m sorry, but could you please send some rain this way?  I think the last month when we had rain was February – oh, wait, we did have 0.03 inches in May, but that was a long time ago. I know we had a wet winter, but, dear Lord, couldn’t you spread it out just a little throughout the year instead of lumping it together over a single month or so?

I know God made the world with different climates and temperature zones. God made mountains and valleys, glaciers and swamps, seashores and deserts.  God also created people to live in all those places, each with the ability to use the climate, the growing zones, and the weather patterns to sustain their lives. Animals lived in the same way, adapting when necessary. God was pretty smart to do all that and using only imagination, creativity, and sometimes mud. 

Now the polar icecaps are melting along with glaciers,  which are millions of years old. Fires are again burning scrub brush and old-growth forest alike.  Some shorelines are being built up,  while others are suffering erosion. The clear skies are often dirty brown, and people with breathing problems are suffering from increasing episodes of asthma and decreased ability to breathe. God made a perfect world, but human beings have done much to destroy the beauty and balance that existed at the time of creation. 

There are traces of primeval forests at the bottom of lakes and swamps.  Humans have found seashells in the materials that make up high mountains.  Petrified wood is proof that trees existed in places where they are very scarce now. I wonder, did God create the world to shift things around from time to time? If the magnetic poles switch positions from time to time, do floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other environmental events occur the same way – on some schedule God put in place to shake us up once in a while? 

The calendar changes, the seasons change, the weather changes, and people change. It all seems to be in some great plan unknown to us, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it is not known to God. But God also put free will on the earth for humans to make decisions for themselves, to choose to do good or evil, to do things that make life better or worse.  That free will means they can choose to protect the earth and the beings that inhabit it or elect to live selfishly, tearing the ground apart, leaving footprints of greed in every corner, and bruised and broken bodies in its wake.  It creates deserts of blowing, choking sand, and rising tides that flood the land, drowning all that stands in its path. 

I can see what frustrated the prophets of old who could, with the help of God,  clearly see what was happening yet were seemingly unable to make the people see it too, much less change their ways.  People watch the weather reports today, but don’t always take notice of warnings. Even with signs, meteorologists, hydrologists, geologists, volcanologists, and dozens of other -ists can’t always forecast or predict how dangerous things are going to get. It seems to be the only time we think about “Acts of God” is when some kind of disaster comes around, even if we were cautioned, and prepared for what we believe is the worst that can happen. 

Moses predicted plagues to strike Egypt. God had warned him and told him to tell Pharaoh. The king might listen, after two or three of these “warning” plagues, but usually wasn’t about to pay attention to warnings of something that might happen but what would surely deprive him of bricklayers, farmers, and other workers if he acceded to what Moses said God wanted. We know what happened in that story.

There’s a saying that goes, “Bloom where you’re planted.” Yes, even in a desert without rain. Our desert certainly isn’t the worst place by any stretch. I guess what I have to complain about is so inconsequential to what others have to suffer through that I sound pretty wimpy. I may be tired of a pandemic that I didn’t start. I may not see the end of it, but that doesn’t mean I can ignore it and the safety precautions that modern prognosticators like the CDC say I should obey, like wearing masks, staying six feet apart from others, and staying home, especially if I am sick. We’ve found out that the hot weather isn’t going to improve things, and I don’t know if we can wait for snow and freezing temperatures to see if maybe COVID-19 doesn’t like the cold. 

Meanwhile, I will sit at home, read, knit, talk to the boys (my cats), and pray for rain. The earth around me needs it, and the fire danger grows higher every day. We’ve already had several severe fires in the mountains as well as in the Valley, but more are sure to come. I’m sure God has something in mind, even if I don’t know what the plan is. 

It’s up to me to do what I can to bloom here in the desert. It’s also up to me to trust God to take care of me – with some help from me, of course. A flood starts with a single drop of water,

God bless.

Image: Agave americana in bloom, Porto Covo, Portugal. Author: Alvesgaspar, Joaquim Alves Gaspar, Lisboa, Portugal. 2011. Found at Wikimedia Commons.

Linda Ryan is a co-mentor for an Education for Ministry group, an avid reader, lover of Baroque and Renaissance music, and retired. She keeps the blog Jericho’s Daughter.

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