I love summer in New England. Let’s be honest, I love any season in New England. But something happens when the snow melts and things start to bloom and it gives way to average temperatures in the high 70’s. The beaches are full and outdoor seating feels like the right choice. We spend our weekends walking outside and eating more ice cream than we should (in fact, New England eats more ice cream than any part of the country) and I can never get over the beauty of this place.
Maybe it’s the iconic shoreline or harbors or the marsh or the way that I feel like I’m living in a Lands’ End Catalogue. But whatever magic rises to the surface and touches everything in the summertime, I am here for it.
Last year, there was a drought. Our once-a-week-or-so rain just didn’t show up. Yards got brown and it felt like the coolness that once settled on the area just didn’t exist. Still, we managed with our beach days and walks and lobster rolls. But this year? It won’t. stop. raining.
I’ve tried to be patient. I’ve tried to remind myself we need the rain. But parties are being canceled and events are getting moved and plans are constantly changing because sometimes it rains for ten days in a row. And while that might be helpful in the long run, it’s really cramping my summer style. I do not like this much rain.
Honestly? It feels like I’m missing out. Like I’m being ripped off. Like I’m getting the scraps or this season is a wash. That I was a fool to hope that things wouldn’t change and maybe it’s best if I don’t get my hopes up that summer can be magic. Why would I ever believe that things can work out?
Or maybe, that’s just my heart bringing deep-rooted fears to the surface. And it’s not about the rain, but what it represents.
Why hope that rain will stop when it just keeps raining? Why make a plan for the beach when it’s just going to change? Why hope for things to go right when I’ve been proven wrong over and over again? I am at the mercy of nature and my nature is not to believe for good things. It is my nature to be guarded and slow to hope.
So when summer arrives and I, someone who might just be solar-powered, am met with rain and cloudy days? I feel a part of my heart go numb. I sense a bit of myself shrivel up. I sit inside and get quiet and find myself frustrated. I abandon hope.
The Bible is full of barren women and wayward children and exhausted parents and broken marriages. It is a chronicle of shattered hopes in the things that once made people feel safe or certain. I think of Naomi who, when her husband and two sons die, says that she left her hometown full (with a family) and God brought her back empty. She calls herself bitter. She refuses to hope.
Still, God provides for her and cares for her. Even in her loss, she is seen. Even in her lack, she is fed. Even when she renames herself Mara (which means bitterness), the book keeps calling her Naomi because her identity is not the bitterness she has encountered.
Yesterday, it stormed. Today, it’s sunny. And tomorrow it will storm again. But by the grace of God, I keep clinging to this truth: God is good. And He does not change. So He could not be better if I had a sunny, dry summer. He could not be better if everything went the way I wanted. This rainy, stormy summer is His good plan in action.
My prayer for the next month or two is to wake up in the morning and dare to hope that good things happen indoors and under umbrellas. That friendship can still grow and community can still be built and Scripture can still bring me home. Because my hope is built on nothing less than the goodness of God, rain or shine.