When we moved to Regina this past summer, we found ourselves in a landscape experiencing drought. Utility meter boxes were exploding and catching fire because the parched ground below was shifting due to long term lack of precipitation. Everything that grows was tinder dry and many fields and yards were brown instead of the green you’d expect in summer time. The expense of watering everything in sight would have been truly unreasonable. It never would have been enough.
The most peculiar thing though, was what I found at my kids’ school. It was a brand new facility built on the very edge of the city with a view of the open prairie from the school yard. West facing, the sunset filled the entire sky and we stopped more than once to see it. Because the school had just opened, the exterior grounds weren’t complete. All along the front and side street around the school with the beautiful view, there were trees planted lining the sidewalks in dry, open soil.
I wondered why they’d bothered to plant all of those trees in a drought. Why they bothered to have watering trucks come keep the sad little things watered. It must be costing them a small fortune. The sight of it seemed futile, if I’m being honest. Why not wait to plant them until the drought is over?
Except that the reason the school was built on the edge of the city is because that part of the city is growing. A new community will eventually be developed all around it, replacing the prairie view with sidewalks, homes, and streets. In the meantime, there’s nothing blocking the school yard from the elements. The wind blows in so hard and cold that the children stay inside for recess at warmer temperatures than the rest of the city schools. The trees can’t wait. Drought or not, they needed to be planted and watered so that they are rooted and established for the elements as well as the growth coming around them in the future. Some of those trees might not make it but they are being given a shot anyway.
Sometimes with God, we find ourselves planting things in a drought, and it costs us dearly to keep watering it and watering it and watering it. Yet we are called to plant and water anyway. We might not get to know why. We might not get to see it grow. Maybe it won’t make it. Maybe we won’t. But when there is an urgency to plant in faith, we go and we plant and we water. We give it a shot. It can’t wait because the friendships or churches or businesses or children or communities that are yet to come, need us to plant with vision now. Even if all we see is an empty, open field. Even if we find ourselves in the middle of a drought, wondering if this couldn’t just wait for healthy soil that isn’t making meter boxes explode for lack of rain. Even if it costs us everything to see it watered, knowing that healthy outcome isn’t guaranteed even then.
Moving away cost us everything but we lost nothing. We didn’t understand what God was doing or asking us to do, but there was an urgency in us that made waiting for rain out of the question. So we went. We did our best even though it ultimately wasn’t good enough. God never guaranteed us a healthy outcome and so we left when the time came, albeit too quickly and weighed down with grief. The cost of staying would have been truly unreasonable and we never would have been enough. Now we are home again and I think about those trees planted in rows on the prairie and the people we had to leave behind. Who will water them?
I’m praying for rain.
copyright (c) 2018 Jenna Pelias // all rights reserved