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Drops

I sat awake last night memorized by the gentle rainfall.

Rain is always a mixed blessing on the boat. On the one hand the drops hitting the tin roof that covers the slips create their own sort of meditative melody. It’s a somewhat natural song that combines with the wind and the tiny splashes of rain drops hitting to lake itself creating a musical effect that shouts both strength and peace in one single verse.

On the other hand, the consistent rain throws my thoughts back to this time last year when the lake level started rising…and rising…and rising. Dwelling on those thoughts last night woke up my “inner geek” and I did a few google searches and calculations. Here is what I came up with:

  • The average rain drop weighs .003 ounces.
  • There are 128 ounces in a gallon.
  • There are roughly 326,000 gallons in one acre foot of water.
  • At its current level, the lake I am on covers 27,000 acres.
  • Therefore, it takes 375 trillion raindrops to raise the boat one foot.

That’s: 375,000,000,000,000!

It’s amazing to think about lifting the boat by filling the entire lake one drop at a time. That notion led me to think about other things that come to us one drop at a time. Good, bad and indifferent, many things that flood our lives don’t happen in large waves, but little drops.

For example:

  • Friendship – While we might know the moment we meet someone that they have life long friend potential, the heart of the friendship grows with each drop of encouragement, each moment of struggle and vulnerability and each new memory that gets created.
  • Bitterness – Likewise we rarely wake up fine with something or someone one morning and find ourselves bitter by the end of the day. It usually starts with hurt, frustration or confusion. We often take a stop at anger as the feelings intensify and when the motivation and hope for change that anger can provide starts to fade, bitterness sets in; one drop of disappointment and critical thinking at a time.
  • A new talent – We all know that kid, the one sat up at the piano when she was three years old and hammered out Beethoven’s 5th symphony. If we don’t know them, we’ve see the video their parents posted on YouTube (and their FaceBook feed, Instagram, twitter, blog titled “Why my kid is the most amazing” and co-written a children’s book with their little prodigy). But for the rest of us, talent starts with an interest, gets mixed with effort, hindered by frustration and – one drop of passion at a time – eventually we turn around and are considered “gifted”.
  • An addiction – I really don’t have to explain this one to many of you. What starts as a prescription for a pain in the neck, evolves into a need for a pill for the pain in the heart. And when the pill isn’t enough, other options are found. Not all at once, just one drop, hit, drag, line or shot at a time. Then one day we turn around and find ourselves flooded with needs that are now out of our control.

Imagine that I wanted the lake to raise two feet and prayed that God would give me an instant answer to that desire. As a result, instead of spreading the nearly 800 trillion drops over the hundreds of square miles that feed the tributaries to the lake, God just dumped the water – 16 billion gallons – right into the lake. Instead of the boat getting two feet higher, it would likely be capsized.

“Slow” happens for a reason. Sometimes it’s to give us a chance to fix something before it goes terribly wrong, sometimes it happens to make sure we become the strongest, and best possible versions of ourselves we can be.

For those of you who saw all the zeros in the number of drops and didn’t see an illustration or a metaphor but just said, “Holly crap that’s a stinkin’ buch of water!”, I have two things to say to you:

1) I’m a little jealous. (the abstract thoughts can be exhausting).
2) Having watched the lake flood more than once now, you are absolutely right – that is a stinkin’ bunch of water!

What are the drops doing in your life now? Is it something you have time to change before it gets out of hand or something you need to patiently wait to become the full greatness of what it’s going to be?

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