These days, I tend not to fret about my yard.
Our landscaping…well, that’s another matter.
The turf and trees, you see, have been a part of our home-life for the better part of 30 years now. So on the whole, I figure they ought to be capable of fending for themselves – a little like adult children. If a dry spell induces the grass to trend “tan” versus “green,” I’m OK with that. Builds character, I say, because droughts quite simply are a part of life.
Our front landscaping beds are the lone exception to this yard-care paradigm. They received a complete make-over just last fall, so to protect that recent investment, I’ll suffer the heat to give the plants and bushes a good watering several times a week.
But there’s no need to get out there today – neither on behalf of turf nor hydrangea tree. Everything’s being watered by a gentle soaking rain. Prodigal droplets, pelting like peace and mercy on every square inch of my yard…the whole neighborhood…and beyond.
That’s the thing about a dry spell: It makes you particularly grateful for the rain when at last it comes again.
And notice how it removes the notion of meritocracy, too: My yard gets the rain, just like my neighbor down the block whose lusciously-green grass is watered mechanically four or five times a week.
I wonder if this is the sort of thing that drew Mary of Bethany to the feet of Jesus, much to the chagrin of her hard-working sister Martha. We hear that gospel story at Mass today, and probably feel our sense of justice stirred in the process:
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to [Jesus] and said, “Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”
You can almost sense the dryness in Martha’s spirit. And you empathize with her. You begin to wonder why all her hard work is not bearing better fruit.
Then comes the Good News, falling on both sisters like a gentle rain:
The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.”
Jesus, the Living Water, offers to break Martha’s drought, just as he’s already done for Mary. And so, Jesus the guest…becomes Jesus the host.
Especially on a rainy day, we might want to pause for just a moment to soak in this Gift…and give Jesus the chance to slake our thirst and restore our souls.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.