I think it is safe to say that the drought in north Texas has been broken. The average annual rainfall for Dallas is just over 36 inches, and we have received in excess of 23 inches since September 1st. That is about 20 inches above average for the same period. I have emptied the rain gauge so many times at Siete Ranch that I have lost track of the total. The State Fair of Texas, almost always blessed with “fair” October weather, has been essentially washed away, more than likely in a sea of red ink.
In Texas, especially if you raise livestock or farm for a living, it is absolutely forbidden to complain about moisture. Anyone who has lived through a real Texas drought understands this. Nevertheless, it can be frustrating to witness the damage and waste that comes with this amount of rain. The pictures and videos this week of flooding in Central Texas have been both amazing and horrifying. The frustration mounts for all of us as we face the reality of yet more rain in the forecast. It is tempting to plead with God to please let it stop.
I have been a devoted reader of Father Richard Rohr in recent years, and he has written one sentence that has been life-changing for me: “We all must forgive reality for being what it is.” That is such an incredibly simple and self-evident truth, and yet most of us live our lives in terrible, daily denial of reality. The reason, I think, is simple. For most of us, there is a lot of reality to forgive. Personally, it means a lot of things that are out of my control, the amount of rain being one of them. It means mistakes I’ve made in the past that can’t be undone. It means the suffering I observe, and sometimes endure, without the capacity to significantly change. It means coming to terms with the vulnerability and anxiety of being merely human.
When I am able to be honest with myself about all of that, reality becomes easier to both forgive and embrace. This morning, even in the face of another gloomy forecast, my prayer was both simple and realistic: “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Rev. Don Underwood