7:30 BELLS: The Radiance of Rain

Rain, sun, wind, clouds—then rain again. In other words, we’re having weather here at the river. Inside, evergreen boughs and shining Christmas trees echo ancient traditions of winter solstice—they encourage the sun to turn, to return, to please please hurry back to those starved for light.

Outside, on my walk during a sun beak, each tree is jeweled with raindrops. Maybe this inspired the idea for Christmas tree lights, but the trees and the rain knew it first.

I once thought of higher spiritual ideas as jewels that existed “up there.” We had to work hard to get to them. Climb ladders of theology, follow stone-inscribed precepts, fast ten thousand days in the wilderness, read every spiritual text. But in the ringing radiance of rain on the branches, I know I was wrong.

Wind has taken its toll in the woods. Many branches twist on the ground. I see broken limbs, split trunks, trampled leaves. But every piece of green, not only those in the high treetops, is jeweled with raindrops. The imperfect, the fallen, the broken—we're all radiant.

The jewels lay on every part of our lives, every part of ourselves that has been broken, beaten, every part wounded or scarred. They even shine on the mundane of dirty dishes and downloads that fill so much of our lives. We just have to see them. Pick them up, turn them in our hand. Maybe we don’t know right away what they mean. But keep collecting them, keep fingering them in your pocket until you do.

Outside, I knew the weather was changing again when the wind rose. The trees danced alive, showering drops of jeweled rain to the grass, to the leaves, the weeds, the indomitable cherry tree already budding.

And that’s how I’d like to be. And that’s what I’d like to do.

Welcome, winter solstice.

7:30 BELLS Posts run every Tuesday.

7:30 BELLS Guest Posts run on the second Tuesday of every month. Join me on January 12 for a guest post with children's book author Erik Brooks.