Personal reflections

Sprinklers in the Rain

Repost: this article is highly problematic – the first few sentences demonstrate how the young children in my family were traumatized and lived in fear. My response to being overwhelmed was to dissociate. I’ve preserved it because it is a good example of how I once responded to stress.

Zechariah woke up disconcerted, and started crying. We’d been driving for six hours and it was nearly midnight. Our van was parked at a gas station, it was raining, and he thought he’d been left in the car. I calmed him down and said I’d take him inside to take advantage of the bathroom break.

The aforementioned rain, however, wouldn’t be easy on an annoyed and sleepy four-year-old. I carried Zech and whispered gently, “I’m going to run through the rain now, baby. Are you ready?” I didn’t shelter his head and start dodging puddles until I had permission.

Afterward I had extra time, so I got out my headphones and started dancing in the rain. It was great for me – I felt refreshed and focused, ready for the trip ahead. Something caught my eye: there was a nearby large house running sprinklers to water its grass.

Talk about an unnecessary job: doubly watering your grass. I thought it was a great metaphor for the way some people live their lives, so when we started driving again, I started taking notes:

When have I been guilty of running sprinklers in the rain? Wearing myself out doing a job I don’t have to do. This is usually the case when facing the gospel of grace: instead of accepting God’s gift as a full payment, I try to grow or I try to fix my problems instead of bothering God with it. Trying to fix myself before bothering God with my problems is like running sprinklers in the rain.

Most sprinklers are automatic, though. They don’t turn off automatically if it’s raining. All the more reason to be alert – know when to run sprinklers, when to be sensitive to the needs of a child, and when to dance.