Published in the Rains County Leader on May 9, 2017:
When I sat down to write this week’s column, it was one of those times when I stared at the blank screen while the cursor blinked at me saying, “Well, write something.” Several hours later, I was still staring and it was still blinking, so I stopped and fixed dinner.
While I was staring, and while I was cooking, I was also thinking. I was thinking about all the stories I heard this past week about how our community has come together to help their neighbors in need. The stories were really good ones, but there are problems. First, many of the stories have already been reported and second, the people involved in the other stories are friends of mine. Most of my friends have, at one time or another, been the subject of one of my columns. Now when they tell me a story, they look at me with a grin and say, “Don’t you write about this.”
Sometimes when I hear that, it’s because they’ve done something funny, and they don’t want my readers laughing at or even with them. This week, though, it’s mostly because they don’t want any recognition for the good deeds they’ve done out of the goodness of their hearts. I can understand that, so I looked through my file of past columns and realized we had another storm almost exactly two years before this one. It wasn’t nearly as dramatic, but it did provide some insights that I thought I’d share with you again.
Friday night’s storm left its mark on the Brendle homestead. When we looked out the windows Saturday morning, we saw several fallen limbs and more standing water than most Texas homeowners see unless a water line has sprung a leak. After breakfast, David went to check out the damage. A few minutes later he stuck his head in the front door.
“Your garden took quite a beating last night,” he said. “Most of the corn and a lot of the tomatoes are down, and the water broke through one of your rows and washed out a garlic plant.”
I sighed, shut down my computer, and changed into my gardening clothes. I knew I would need rubber boots, but since I don’t have any, I had to settle for tennis shoes. I know that’s not what they’re called now, but I can’t tell a cross-trainer from a walking shoe.
I sloshed through the grass and spent the next couple of hours playing in the mud. I wiped off the leaves of tiny seedlings that were stuck in the dirt, I removed the broken shoots from the tomato plants and staked up the stems, I packed mud around the exposed roots of the corn, and I worked on pulling the multitude of weeds that seemed to survive the storm quite nicely. While I worked, I thought a lot about water.
A couple of weeks ago, we had water night at AWANA. Keeping with the same theme, we talked about living water the next week during story time. We talked about John 7:38 where Jesus said that anyone who believed in Him would have rivers of living water flowing from within them. As I pulled the weeds that came up easily out of the saturated ground, I thought about how much easier it is to keep the “weeds” out of our lives when we keep ourselves saturated with living water.
While I was working and musing in the garden, David was playing in the septic tank again. I wrote a few weeks ago about how our aerobic system flooded during the rain, and he had to bail out the excess water in order to get the sprinklers to run. If the sprinklers don’t keep the water level down, the aerator pump won’t run, and the whole system is useless. Saturday, he pulled out enough water to expose the pump, but the system still wouldn’t come on. He came over to check on my progress, and we agreed it was time to call it a day. Always the optimist, though, he decided to give the sprinklers one more try before we went in for lunch. I watched him walk down to the electrical control panel, and as he leaned over to hit the reset button, I whispered a little prayer.
“He’s worked so hard. Please let it start.”
I heard a little voice inside my head whisper back. You’d better get out of the way. I looked down and realized I was standing almost on top of one of the sprinkler heads. I made it to the porch just as the head popped up and a fifteen-foot stream of water spewed out. Mom always told me you sometimes have to put feet to your prayers.
Country life isn’t always easy. There are times when I think it would simplify our lives if we rented a permanent spot at an RV campground and lived in the motor home. True, it might be easier, but it wouldn’t be nearly as educational.