It has been hot here in Texas. I was driving to a meeting with the director of the Tarrant Area Community of Churches last week and watched a digital thermometer in front of a local bank flip from 109 to 110 degrees. The Air Conditioning was on in the car, but I swear it felt warmer in the car as I saw that happen. It’s been over 100 degrees for weeks here and all these types of psychological tricks are happening now. The ground around the walking paths I frequent is parched and cracked. We have drought conditions here. The Farmers Market I work with has an increasing number of vendors deeply affected and/or not showing up for the Market recently because the drought is affecting the season’s crops. It is hot, it is dry. We need rain.
This morning I am at a leadership training conference taking place at the Texas Woman’s University. It’s a beautiful campus of brick and fountains and flowers and trees and walkways that reminds of Radcliffe in many places. This morning as I took a walk at TWU, I passed a place where the grass and trees were dying or seemed to be dying in the Texas heat. A new sprinkler system was being laid in the ground to send the roots of the plants water and bring them back to life.
I walk every day as a spiritual practice. I don’t listen to music, I listen to the wind, the birds, the trees. I watch the sunlight on the trees and the grass. I listen to my heart. I listen to God. It is one of the deepest ways I pray. Spiritual practices, ways we pray, are vital. Spiritual practices involve any and all ways we reach deep into ourselves and reach out to the divine, transcendent centers of meaning. Spiritual practices are things we engage with depth, repetition, and intentionality. We need to care for our practices so that they can care for us. There will be times when it is hot, dry, and the crops seem to fail. I will keep walking. I will pray for God to send my roots rain. (For a great resource, see Megan McKenna’s Send My Roots Rain ) I’ve been watered before. I’ve walked enough. I know the rain will come.
Sometimes, however you have to help the rain come. You have to irrigate, the way the folks at TWU were helping their grass and water recover. Sometimes the drought will be deep, the type of drought our farmers at the Farmers Market are facing. This is where the practice is important. A surface practice, a new practice, a shallow practice may not sustain in such times, however a deep practice will help the roots hold on for rain and make it through the desserts caused by drought.