I was sitting in a chair on the deck, looking broadly over hills of mown grass. Families gathered at the edge of the grass with balls and chairs and time. The afternoon sun was a balloon without string, drifting lazily towards the horizon. The day felt both empty and full, summer at its best. Not hot, not cool, just right.
Without warning, industrial sprinklers popped-up out of the lawn and sprayed water in a semi-circle of thirty, forty foot radius. Children – five, six, nine years old – began running around, dodging near to and jumping away from the water to tease it, playing chicken with the water, pretending to try to stay dry, yet getting wet all the same. Drops at first, then spray as they stuck fists and hands into the water. Eventually, the children dropped all pretense and ran straight into the spray. Water pushed them and splattered as halos around them.
Parents laughed, a dog barked, and water refracted the afternoon sunlight. The spray became glitter, prisms of rainbow circling the children, and the children still dancing and laughing and playing the way children are supposed to dance and laugh and play on lazy summer days. Like the Holy Spirit dances and laughs and plays on lazy summer days.
As I watched the children, my mind drifted to Jesus, and how he might have played as a child. How little we know about his world prior to the age of 30. And yet, this Son of God, Son of Man, this child of heaven, I am certain on lazy summer days would have jumped into sprays of water, or pulled buckets from wells to toss water onto the head of his cousin John, or splashed in the shallows of the Sea of Galilee with his siblings. Do I hear Joseph, do I see Mary, at first telling the boys to slow down? To be careful? Not to disturb the others at the well, the women and men fishing the Sea? Relenting, and laughing, now they start splashing water at Jesus rather than chide him.
Abandon, and what might our days be like with a little more dancing and laughing and playing?
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, whether a vaccine will be developed, whether the right will shake hands with the left, whether the lion will lie down with the lamb any time soon.
I don’t know whether tomorrow I will discover that I have terminal cancer, or whether the CPG will go bust, or whether a storm will blow through my life.
I don’t know much of anything, when you get right down to it. I wasn’t invited into this world, I was inserted into it. Without permission, I might add, and each day I live carries enough uncertainty with it to fill a ten gallon hat.
No, I don’t know much of anything, not much of anything at all of consequence. Not much of anything at all eternal.
Except for this. That there is a God in heaven, a Savior at hand, and a Spirit of joy and love and grace that for some inexplicable reason attends my life – that same uninvited life –
Which leaves me little choice but to dance. Little choice but to laugh. Little choice but to play like a child splashing in the summer sun and sprinklers.
For somewhere in the splashing and sunlight there glitters a rainbow. And I know for certain that I am, after all, home. On this earth. Tethered by hope.