Pink Water Lilies, Rain and Sorrow

 



Needed rain brought perky flowers, glistening trees and cleaned the decorative rock in our yard like sparkling new after the storms.  The community park in our small country town sits adjacent to the byway where we can glance into the pond and watch the water lilies float as we drive by.  The pink ones beg attention as they show off their beauty; I had to pull in, park my car and grab my cell.   A thin gal with long blonde hair wearing a summer flowered maxi dress joined me and sat on the bench to drink in the winsomeness.  She broke our silent meditation with “Look at the pink ones!  I never saw them before and had to stop!”



I listened to the pretty lady and learned her accent, a Scottish brogue, brought her here from Scotland more than a decade ago.  My mind envisioned bright greens and countryside, but I learned this Scottish lass was a city girl and not the country girl I imagined.  She seemed surprised such a beautifully landscaped park with water lilies could be found in our simple country town with its plain structures and horses, lots of horses. 

I did not tell her I migrated here thirty years ago to raise my children in strong family values of small town living rather than in Chicago amidst the fast-paced lifestyle.  I did not tell her some of us are country hicks by choice with deep aesthetic roots. 

We both got into our cars and drove off, her to her job in the city and me the homestead with a pile of mail I picked up in town to sort through and pay bills. 

It’s interesting how our different lifestyles meet and touch each other.  My adjustment to country living came slow and painful.  No more museums to educate myself and now clothing from department stores instead of malls.

Far from perfect, we deal with hot temperatures and brush fires in early summer.  When it rains, it pours!  One of the first warnings I received when my kids were small came from other parents who would not let their children play in dry washes.  Rain pours from the mountains and fills them quickly so respect this boundary and keep the kids safe. 

Small town friendly living might threaten city dwellers which prefer anonymity.  I learned from the brush fires last June about concerned neighbors in our small town who rescued pets and cattle during the call to evacuate.   More recently, in fact just last weekend alerts on our phones warned of impending flash floods.  We never know if the heavy rains will visit us or just linger in the mountains that surround us; usually it’s the latter.  Hard rain came and washed out a few properties, and unfortunately took one life.

A sixteen year old girl called 911 when her car stalled in a wash area of about two feet.  It rained hard and heavy that Saturday night.  By the time the emergency crew arrived, the wash rose to eight feet so the girl climbed atop her car to avoid drowning.  The crew tried but could not get to her in time without endangering themselves.  The swift water pulled her off and down the fast moving wash.  Four days passed before her body appeared in the river.

Phoenix News stations visited our town during the search while local residents helped with hundreds of professional search and rescue teams from surrounding towns.  Many news watchers joined us to pray for the family of this sweet girl.  A beautiful prayer vigil of townspeople met to comfort family and friends in the baseball field where the girl played on her high school team. 

For days I prayed and asked the Lord to be glorified in this tragedy.  To be honest, I couldn’t imagine how He could.  But then this morning as I joined once again with my husband to pray, the answer came.   The answer came when I began to thank God for all the love and prayers I witnessed.  I thanked Him, too, for all the townspeople who offered to cook for the family, to clean their homes, to run their errands, to hold them tight and encourage them as well as those who carried their burden in prayer.  Many business people organized food and drinks in a park to feed volunteers and keep them hydrated in the hot sun.  Social media dominated the news feeds with loving sentiments and I cried when I read beautifully crafted words, Scripture and even pictures drawn from the heart to offer as a gift to uplift. 

Once again, I saw a community of loving people come together from different backgrounds, from different faiths and churches, many who rub elbows with this family in our small town in the workplace, in church, in community events as well as strangers who just know the devastation of what another parent feels. 

And that brings Almighty God glory. 


“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”  John 12:24


Comments

  1. Yes, during hard times, people usually show their good side of character. Thank God for that.

    We are approaching times of great change due to climate change. Floods and fires are going to drive us away from our homes, sooner or later. I say to younger people that they have to practice mobility and minimalism, to be able to cope with the future. It won't matter whether you live in the city, small town or village. We're all on the same boat - a boat that is about to sink if we don't take the right precautions.

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  2. I remember reading about this tragedy on social media, but didn't realize her body had been found. What an amazing testimony of the inherent goodness of people. I've witnessed so much goodness here in small-town Alabama ... and I'm proud to call myself a 'hick.' (Or 'redneck' as Tom prefers. Ha.) Given what we fear is happening to our once proud nation, I'm grateful to be living among like-minded folks.

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  3. Despite the tragic loss, that was beautiful to see the people helped each other out! When people come together in times of tragedies & other kinds of trials, God is indeed glorified that way!!! For His Light shines through all around that darkness as joyful hearts gather to lift each other up!!! After all, joy is His gift! And when others who don't know His offer of salvation see that, it's even more beautiful when they go to the Cross after tasting His goodness that come from believers who reflect His Light! After all, that is our first ministry to this broken world... To show others how much God loves us & wants no one to perish! Surely, the Good News in any storms of life!!! Even through this plandemic we had been facing! So He is glorified!!! Your post reminds me sister Mary how vulnerable life is. That it can really change in the blink of an eye. But reading how the people in your community reached out to each other to lighten up the burdens & bring joy to broken hearts, that's a beautiful faith lift that brought a big smile & ironed out my wrinkled face 😁. God bless & protect you always. ❤️🙏

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  4. My heart breaks for the family who lost their precious daughter. I can't even imagine what they are going through. I love how the community came together for the family.

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  5. This was such a heartwarming post for me to read this morning as I sip on my coffee and give God praise for all things. Yes, even in the midst of small town with lots of disadvantages there are still HUGE advantages. So glad you shared this. I will also stop and pray for the family of this girl. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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  6. Over a year ago - we lost 19 people in a tornado. This small town response was amazing - the hands and feet of Christ were everywhere. My husband was stunned - when his family was hit with a tornado about 40+ years ago, it took months to just get their property cleaned up to look like what this community did for so many homes in 48 hours. Only God can turn crucifixion into resurrection! I'm a transplanted kind-of city girl to small town living, too! I love it!

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  7. Such a sweet story about the Scottish lady who joined you on the park bench, and such a sad, tragic story about the dear girl who lost her life. SO, so sad. May the dear Lord comfort all who mourn her passing. And may He bless you, too, sweet friend!

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  8. I have missed reading your post...for some reason you are not showing up on my radar. Sound like God is bringing women around you to be ministered to by you. Blessings as you give out the wisdom God has given you.

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  9. I am so sorry to read about this. I can not imagine.

    God rest her soul and give her family, and whole town of friends, peace.

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