Days and days ago I found myself in a down-pour of life that left me drowning. Soaking wet and weighted down with the storm I was carrying around on my shoulders. Even when it stopped raining... I couldn't find a dry spot to land.
Living knee deep in flood waters can slow a person down. It's when the waters rise too fast and we find ourselves barely keeping our noses above the water line that we start to drown. The first drops of rain are never enough to scare us away. To send us looking for dry land or an umbrella or a boat to keep around... just in case. No, the first few drops usually just get our toes wet and if we've come prepared for wet feet...well, a person can surely walk around the puddles and get to where we are going.
But days ago I didn't notice the puddles pooling around me and soon my toes weren't just wet, but I was walking unsteadily against a current that was working hard to pull me under. And under I went a time or two. Enough to make me hold my breath and hope someone would come with that boat or that life-jacket or even a hand to pull me out for just another breath of air while I stumbled to set my feet on solid ground again.
Even in those muddy, thick...take me down and drown me waters...every so often someone would hold on to me. They'd grab my hand and let me breathe and back in I would go. Swimming, trudging water, drowning, and floating away down a river of hard days...doubt...discouragement...dangerous days that often left me uncertain of my next. It's really hard to see clearly when the flood waters have surrounded us and we don't climb into the boat while our souls are rebuilt.
The rain does stop.
The waters go down.
Dry land can be seen again.
We can not plant our feet on solid ground if we don't stop struggling to swim and notice when the sun comes back out. See that by using our strength to stake our new spot on the little piece of dry land, instead of using it all to just simply keep our heads above water...will better help us survive until its safe to go back.
It's what we do the day after it rains that matters. We can't predict the rain anymore then we can count our days here. Storms come and we find ourselves in deep waters. And we respond and live in a way that finds us surviving instead of outlasting the downpour that has drenched us.
The day after... I've done it so differently in the past. I've panicked. I've refused the life boat. I've looked away from the little island of dry land that could get me through another day well, instead of just getting through a day.
Just a few days ago, I knew the water was rising. Once upon a time...it probably would have taken me with it. But after you drown a few times, you learn that when the rains stops...you can jump in that boat and head to dry land. You can stick all your people in that boat with you and point them to safety. You can prepare a place to hang out until the waters go back down and you can all head back home. You can grab that hand reaching out to help you to shore and know it comes as welcome as the sun in the sky after a heavy rain. You can quit swimming. You can float with assurance that your life is always going to find itself in a storm or two along the way. And you can choose to ride it out from the safety of even one little dry piece left over.
When the waters rise, we quickly realize what really matters. We grab what we really need. We save what has value. We carry with us what will carry us on after this day. The day after it rains, we should start with just that. Do what matters today. Grab onto what will make today better. Save what will change our tomorrow. Carry what needs to be held until you can head back once the water is gone. The day after it rains is for drying out...not drowning. Look for the boat before you are too deep to see the shore.