So my reflections have been delayed. I'm thinking of it as a rain delay. Like during the 9th inning of the 2016 World Series. Everyone's on pins and needles as a monumental comeback followed by an equally impressive rally brings it to an extra innings overtime. And that's when the rain comes in to delay the game even further. I remember people commenting, "Wow, God really doesn't want either of these teams to ever win a World Series ever again". My beloved Cubs did eventually win, after a century of waiting, but that journey in October was a struggle to watch.
Sometimes life feels like that. We're so eager for good things to happen right away. We are so impatient. Like kids wanting to rip open that Christmas gift and bargaining for an ever-earlier Christmas Eve unwrapping, at least for one gift. We want to act and act now, but in truth we have to wait. Wait for things to happen, good or bad.
We want and believe that verse from Amos: "But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream". But it doesn't say it will happen right away. It doesn't suggest that it will happen tomorrow, much less today. We pray that it happens and that it does so now.
When I last blogged, I mentioned how the rain in San Francisco moved me deeply. The rain itself was refreshing, cold but invigorating. But it was unwelcome, as I slipped in the mud repeated while walking through a hilly park before dawn. I felt sorry for myself and wished the rain to stop, or at least pause until I got out of it. Yet that's also when I started to see people sleeping in doorways, and bus stops, pulling their sleeping bags tight to their bodies to keep warm and dry. In truth, they probably weren't dry, but at least it could keep the wind of their faces as they slept.
This week, I've been walking before dawn, as is my custom. In the rains that has deluged California for the past month. And I would duck into my car or house if it went from a light sprinkle to a heavy rain. That's because I never wandered too far away from safety and comfort. And that's what's unsettling. I choose to walk in the rain. It's a privilege that I can afford. Those sleeping outside this week most often did not have a choice. I chose to accept discomfort, and they had to endure it.
This weighs heavily on me as I read about our new federal executive administration and Congress, as they find ways to remove health care, housing and employment protections, and equal protections under the law. It screams injustice to me, taking from those in need what little we already offer them. It makes me look up to the water-laden clouds and say "Bet let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.".
And yet, there's this wait, this rain-delay.
Earlier this week, I was strolling in Millard Canyon. I couldn't see the stream through the fog and drizzle, but I could hear it flowing. I could hear the waters flowing. It's not ever-flowing. Few Southern California rivers or streams flow constantly, especially when we're praying that this winter may be the last for this terrible drought we are having. I could not see a thing, but I knew the stream was there. I stepped into it partially at one point, but still could not see. But as the photo above shows, the rains paused. The fog lifted. And yes, yes I could finally see the stream that was shrouded and hidden away. And I was struck by how we can sense justice and righteousness at our feet, even if we cannot see it yet. It's there, waiting for us, if only we can see our way through the fog.
I've dried my feet on a fuzzy towel. My toes are snuggled in a pair of toasty slippers and I've leaned back writing this reflection. I bought a stranger a combo dish at Taco Bell an hour ago. He didn't want money. Just food. I asked if he knew about the rain shelter and he said he did. I doubt his feet are warm and toasty right now.
Must we wait for justice to roll down? Must we wait for the fog to lift? Yes, for the world to find justice and righteousness we must wait. But we don't have to sit and wait for the rest of the world. Perhaps here, perhaps now where we stand, we can see just a little bit more clearly. Perhaps, we can do our part, share what we can or know, so that for those we encounter, maybe, perhaps, the rain delay will be a short one. We can open one little gift now, and know - believe - that the other gifts are sure to follow.