Dear Lord: Can we get down to brass tacks?

Friday, July 27, 2012

God, I know you're listening. There are a few things I want to tell you, and I don't want you to get the idea I know more about being ... well, God ... than you do. You've got a lock on that, partner.

So, if we understand each other, let's get down to brass tacks.

The big item is rain.

Most everyone I know expects you will take care of the drought in your own good time. After all, we remember last year. That was the year we had water everywhere, including an awful lot of places we didn't want it.

There were murmurs then, too, God. Folks said you were playing games with us, and no one was having any fun. They said that. I heard them.

I, myself, said a few things too, God. I'm pretty sure you heard them, since you hear everything. I used some adult-only words. If that was a sin, please forgive me. But I have to tell you I'd be lying if I said saying some of those words out loud didn't feel good.

I've been trying to make sense, God, out of the weather extremes of last year and this year. Way too much rain last year. Way too little this year.

But that's just in my part of the world. While we're as parched as a dead aphid's kiss, other parts of the world are being flooded with the worst rains in recorded history.

I know a lot of scientists think they have our weather figured out, but I wonder if they really do. Just when the "experts" lead us down one path, we come to a fork at the four-way stop where the road dead ends just past the big traffic circle. It's mighty easy to get lost, under the circumstances.

But I think I may have figured out one little piece of the puzzle: prayer. Too much. Too fervent. Too unspecific.

You know, God, when we pray we expect an answer. And many of us have figured out that you always respond, even if it's no way near the way we expected or hoped.

I know a lot of good folks begged you for rain more than a year ago. But they didn't say how much. They were afraid to. That's the way we are, God: We want you to do our bidding, but we're afraid to make the specs too complicated. After all, you're God, so you should know best. Right?

Naturally, this year we prayed for no more flooding. And, by gum, I can't find a flood anywhere within a day's drive. Rivers are drying up. Lakes are evaporating. Who says prayer doesn't work?

Well, God, I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm going to give it too you as straight as I can. We need rain in these parts. Keep in mind there are other places that don't need another drop for a while. We need gentle, soaking rains, not gully-washers that try to even things out all at once.

We need, as some prayer books plainly say, "moderate rain" that benefits us.

Do you see where I'm going here, God? I'm not asking for storms and floods. Neither am I beseeching your great mercy for days and days of rainless weather. I want "moderate rain" that "benefits" us.

And now that I've come this far, I might as well say something about the temperatures hereabout. We get the picture, God. This is as close to hell as many of us want to get.

OK. I think that pretty much does it for now. I'll save world peace, a cure for cancer and ice cream that doesn't melt before you get home from the grocery store for another time.

Remember, God: moderate and beneficial.

And just so you don't think I forgot, we could use this moderate, beneficial rain now. I know your sense of humor. You might take care of this a thousand years from now, which would only be a blink of your eye. You made the day and the night, O God, and you can make it rain not too much, not too little, but just right.

So do it.

Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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