The first afternoon in my "open-air" truck turned out to be milder than most. The deep blue sky made known the coming summer shower — a respite from a lengthy run of dry and sweltry June days. As I drove through the back roads, up and down the Tennessee hills, I could smell and feel the soft, cool breeze as it gained strength. The first few drops of rain fell softly on my arm. It was invigorating and refreshing. I asked myself why I usually avoid this. The shower was short. It was sweet. I couldn't remember ever seeing things look so vividly green, dotted with bright orange daylilies hanging off the hillsides. The trees and the grass soaked in their cool drink of water. I soaked in the beauty of this summer afternoon.
The sun nudged its way back out and peaked at me through the trees. It was then that I remembered back in the deepest part of winter that I looked at these trees when they were gray and bare. I had ached to see them come back to life. Back then, spring seemed so far away. Today, they were so weighted down with lush, green leaves and leftover drops of rain that I could almost reach out and touch them from my open window as I drove past.
In those raw winter days, the thought of getting near the creek close to home was unimaginable. It would've been cold enough to sting my skin. Today, the creek was gentle and soothing. Water meandered effortlessly over flint rocks as it formed tiny whitecaps all along the way. Just days prior, my son and I waded in that creek one afternoon. With the sound of the water rushing by, I remembered the feeling of mud between my toes and how much fun it was for him. It's funny; I didn't notice the creek when my windows were up.
Later that week, driving those roads long after dusk, the sound of crickets filled the warm summer night air. Summer camp hayrides from years ago came to my mind. From the back of the wagon, I remember watching the head boys and girls counselors holding hands. I told myself then that one day I would find my soul mate and fall in love just like them. Seventeen years later, on a night just like that one, I did.
During that week, I thanked God for withholding certain things from me now and then in order to teach me to dream; and I thanked Him for bringing it to my attention when I'm actually living inside those dreams.
"Maybe next week." I told him.
And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. (Romans 5:4 NLT)