359. Rain

Rain was falling when I awoke a few days ago. I lay on my floor, tangled up in a sleeping bag and a light blanket, slipping in and out of consciousness, listening to the soft roar of the rain, and remembering.

The sound of the rain took me back to the jungles near Shell Mera, the town famous for Operation Auca and the brave men who lost their lives for the Gospel of Christ. When we lived in Ecuador, my family and I vacationed in a cabin with a corrugated metal roof. The rain thundered when it fell. I drank tea made from fresh hierba luisa leaves, lay in a hammock, and read a book or played a video game as rain beat the metal roof like a titanic drum.

Mangayacu cabin view

The view out of the cabin was beautiful, even when it was blurred by heavy rain.

A few days ago, as I lay listening to the rain, I recalled the rainstorms that hit my grandparents’ home in Florida. Once, after a heavy rain, I saw a rainbow rising from the yard next to the house where my family and I were staying. The rainbow disappeared when I got too close, but I was able to pinpoint more or less where it touched the earth. There was no pot of gold, but it was still exciting.

I was once privileged to visit the Galápagos Islands for my high school biology class. (Being a missionary kid has its perks!) As my classmates and I snorkeled in a rocky bay in a small island, a squall swept over us: driving sheets of warm rain that limited visibility to about fifteen or twenty feet. (It didn’t help that I wasn’t wearing my glasses at the time.) I treaded water, looking in all directions, seeing only water, hearing only the rain. It was one of the most magical moments of my life.

In Montevideo, where my parents now reside, rain is often preceded or followed by spectacular displays of lightning over the horizon. When the rain falls, it falls hard. I used to walk the dog in the rain—well, I used to try. My parents own a dachshund named Sam, known alternatively as Samwise, Samurai, or the Sam-pup. He doesn’t like getting wet, and he hates thunder. During my visits to Montevideo, I had to drag him outside by his leash when it rained. I loved the wet weather. The city blocks, lined with trees, seemed cleaner and lovelier when rain fell.

Rain washed away the grime of this dirty street and made it a corner of Eden.

Rain made this dirty street a corner of Eden.

A few days ago, I lay awake and listened to the rain: remembering, reminiscing, and—if I may borrow my younger brother’s word—nostalgifying. I love the sound of rain. No matter where I go, the gentle roar of rain never changes.

It reminds me of a line from the Kingdom Hearts games. (Although the story of these games is ridiculous, it has many moments of disarming pathos.) In a touching scene, a character raised near the ocean becomes stranded on a dark, deserted island. He has no hope of escape. There is only an empty beach, jagged outcrops of black stone, gloomy fog, and the soft swish of waves. It’s a bleak place, but the castaway finds a shred of comfort.

“At least the waves sound the same.”

A few things in my life have never changed. I love looking up at the stars. I joke that my childhood home is a particular video game, but it’s not really a joke: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has been more of a constant in my life than any place on earth.

Then there’s the sound of rain. In all these years, and in all these places, it has never changed. As I recently lay awake, I found myself thinking, “At least the rain sounds the same.”

Rain reminds me of the immutability and faithfulness of God. It exists in a state of constant motion, yet it never changes. Rain is beautiful, and it comforts me.

At any rate, it’s better than snow.

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