It's been a hot summer here, that's at least what I've concluded from my vast 3-summer life experience here in Hawai'i. The jury's still out from those who've lived here their whole lives regarding this statement.
And then last night...it started raining. Each time, you hear it coming as it begins hitting metal roofs of houses all around us, the sound crescendoing until the sprinkling meets our own roof. Props to the previous pastors for fixing this parsonage roof that apparently used to leak a LOT. Props to several of our current congregants for getting our sanctuary to FINALLY stop leaking. I can enjoy the rain now without anxiety of interior-lakes forming.
A shot from the parsonage on a particularly rainy day...
As the rain washed over Puna throughout the night and through most of today, I have been grateful for both the cooling and quieting affect rain seems to have here. To me, a rainy day here feels like a snowy day in the Midwest. You can't help but acknowledge that it's here, and you've got no control over it. So: slow down, gear up in your rubber boots or slippahs, and adjust your plans as needed.
For some of our people that have outdoor jobs in landscaping or construction, rain can mean a day or more of lost work if the rain is heavy enough. Rainy days can create miserable nights for those in our area sleeping in tents or outside in various capacities. Hitchhikers are regularly getting drenched on the sides of the road until someone has mercy and gives them a lift. The public charter school that uses our buildings during the week darts as fast as possible from one building to the lanai when it comes time for lunch or electives and it's raining. I can hear the second grade screams now.
Rain also provides for our community. Most of us live with rainwater catchment systems as our primary source of water for our homes. We've got 2 large tanks out behind the parsonage that collect water from the gutters off our roof, send it inside to filter it, and then all the way inside for our sinks, toilets, showers, and laundry usage. Some systems are quite complex. Other people simply stick buckets outside to catch what they need. Most people don't rely on the rainwater for drinking water for various health reasons, but this rain provides what we need for daily life in Puna. We are also grateful for the lush plant life around us that the rain nourishes. You'll never run out of green to see here.
Maybe this week is the beginning of rainy season, we'll see. I can't help but think of Forest Gump when the rain just comes dumping:
Rain has this way of exposing our smallness in the grand scheme of the world. I am grateful for the more connected way of life here to the planet that God has given us. I'm grateful not just to look out on rain and groan because I might get wet running to my car, but to now experience it and give thanks for God's provision. We're not totally off-grid as many people are here in Puna, but I am definitely thankful that we've got one less utility bill to worry about.
Whether it remains blazing hot this week or if the rain continues - may God remind us of the goodness of our smallness and the gift that it is to not be totally in control.
As I wrote those words my mind quickly drifted to our friend specifically in the Bahamas, and perhaps the East Cost soon, that are suffering from the severe effects of Hurricane Dorian. Rain and winds have destroyed so many homes and businesses, and taken a few lives. For more information on how you can help those affected, please visit: https://www.ncm.org