Letting the rain wash me clean

Letting the rain wash me clean

The rain is endless, and it’s washing major swaths of my brain cells down a path through my yard, emptying itself in some creek somewhere. The green outside has been blinding, now muted to khaki green blurriness and squishy mud between my toes. I don’t know if we’ll ever dry out.

I fell asleep last night to gentle pattering rain outside my open window, and the breeze lulled my overactive mind down to a whir. The spiral into darkness was welcome, and I slept fitfully, the sheets twisted around me.

Mother Nature must be sending a cleansing rain to wash away an unsettling past several weeks: a disturbing local news story of years-long sexual abuse and the horrifying normalcy of defending the perpetrator, a government hurtling purposefully toward conflict to distract from hydra-headed actions, and in my own life a malaise in knowing that upheaval is certain where refining fire is needed.

And as the gray skies outside my second-level window become pregnant yet again with rain, I ponder.

Instead of defending the character of someone “who has done such good work in the Lord’s name,” why aren’t we looking at the physical harm they’ve caused? I cannot fathom how their character matters when they’ve abused others over and over, and as patriarchy often does, tries to hide the wrong.

As someone who has seen the dark side of victim-blaming — and heard the quick and obscene cries for the offender to start their path to being well again — I never want to hear again how the perpetrator must be allowed to rehabilitate before I hear how they must pay for their abuses. This is the harm we doubly cause the victims.

My mind also has been haunting the border where detention camps are filling up with children, the youngest recently discovered to have been stripped from their parents at 4 months old. Now you say, why would parents put them in that danger? Have you ever, upon seeing the tiny face of your infant, thought you’d do whatever and go wherever to keep them safe? We are taking them away from their parents, and we are turning our heads aside because we believe they shouldn’t come here at all, that they should be kept out.

My head churns as the rain still falls outside my window, and I falter at my keyboard.

Both issues above have touch points in my own personal life, and I feel a fog settle over me as I struggle to know where best I can inject my thoughts and words or actions. This, as recently other areas of my life, have had things revealed in massive ways: viewpoints and the revelation that many of those viewpoints are polar opposite of mine, so opposite as to have no words in response. I wrestle mightily with the weight of them. How do we live this beautiful life we’ve been given without being crushed by the weight of what we cannot alter?

I can do many things at once. I can support victims of sexual abusers, work to change signs that say one thing and mean another, and write thousands of words on the people who seek entry to what we’ve shone endlessly as a beacon of light to the world. I can delve into exceptionalism and expose it while also sharing opinions on why no one should be kept out of country or church or someone’s heart because of who they inherently are. I can sit with those who are broken and show them my brokenness in return.

“Proximity changes us,” Sarah Bessey said in a recent article. I believe that.

Though the rain is heavy today and the terrors even closer, we can work on doing better.

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