Rain in England is more common than one realizes. Rain comes and goes, often as moments caught in the multiple seasons between the light and dark. At times it seems as if the rain has gone on a walk-about but then the realization of the moss growing on the bricks in the driveway sinks home. There is little one can do to escape the reality of what it means to live in a land where children see wet glistening slate roofs as normal.
I grew up an England eternally wrapped in gray skies. I have come to realize that this is actually quite accurate with one exception. I assumed that the gray was due to the smoke and ash from the fires of those trying to get warm. I have come to find that open fires have faced extinction in the cities for decades due to this fact, yet the gray remains. Something to do with the rain I believe.
In the midst of something pervading life itself I wonder about what envelopes me as a person. It doesn’t matter where one might live. Sure England may drive you to reflection quicker, yet New York, Cleveland, and any city in India or Italy would bring out the same questions. Does the drive for “self: override any other value? Do we need to survive in order to achieve? Can we live beyond our “self” or are we locked in the grayness that permeates every life.
Wisdom suggests that we should “befriend an outlaw and become an enemy to yourself. When the victims cry out, you’ll be included in their curses if you’re a coward to their cause in court.” (Proverbs 29.24) This requires something that transcends the need to win, achieve, and succeed.
England’s grayness invites a mood that is sober, sullen, and often passively complaining. In the midst of this I have found the most beautiful people; full of grace, mercy, compassion, energy, and happiness. They often don’t know that they are friends with the God I see – yet they have made the choice. Will I?