An Expectation of Grace

I was riding my bike a couple days ago on one of the first spring like days. As I rode I thought about how much I look forward to spring. Spring brings with it a newness and freshness that is life-giving. I've been in the midst of a rough place these last few days - emotionally and spiritually - as I face some circumstances that weigh heavy on me.  It's pretty easy for me to get to places where I feel overwhelmed, fearful and alone.  Over the years I've grown more comfortable with these 'winter seasons' in my spiritual journey. They stir within me an expectation of Grace. I received this poem this week from an author I enjoy. It was a 'little cloud' off in the distance...

Practicing Lent
Rain at Winter's End
Ruth Haley Barton

‟Look, a little cloud no bigger than a person's hand 
is rising out of the sea!″

~I Kings 18:44

I love the way the rain comes at winter's end
     to hose down the sooty earth,
          and wash away the dirt that comes from who-knows-where.

Oh God, 
I need a cleansing rain in my life,
     dirty as I am with the grit and grime of these dark years.
My heart is hard and crusty
    like patches of old snow in the yard,
            my life littered with trash I don't recognize
                             and dead, brown grass where it used to be so green.

Today I would settle for a little cloud
    no bigger than a person's hand
            far off in the distance
                 rising out of the sea of this disillusionment.

Today, if I saw such a cloud
     I would run like Elijah--
            loins girded,
                 strengthened by the hand of the Lord
                        in hopes that I could be there when the deluge came.

Warm rain
            Softening the hardness of my heart
                        Washing away the pain
                                    Enlivening this dead earth.

Today, if I saw even a hint of such a cloud,
            I would lay myself down upon the earth
                        and bow my heart low
Waiting for the miracle that would signal the changing of the season
            the end of this drought
                        the coming of spring
                                    in the winter of my heart.

©Ruth Haley Barton, 20098

Fighting for your heart