Learning to live in the drought


Today, my corner of the earth is having a much needed drink.

I woke up this morning to the familiar pitter-patter-pitter-patter that we haven’t had for so long. My body physically relaxed to the sound, knowing the trees and grass and rivers and crops around me are finally getting a good rain.

I didn’t realize until today how tense this drought has made me. It’s winter and there’s no rain. It should not be this way, this is not how things work. We need rain. I’ve been thinking about it every time I turn on the faucet or flush a toilet. I’ve compulsively figured out how to save a few gallons here and there by skipping showers and letting the “yellow mellow”.

Then the rain comes, and realize I’m neither the cause or the solution to it. I can continue to save a tiny bit of water, but that will do nothing to make it rain.

This week I had an eye-opening conversation with a friend. In it, I told her how much I wish more church people would be open to the possibility that they could be wrong. What bugs me the most, I said, is their arrogance in thinking their particular vein of tradition and interpretation of scripture is the best and only way. I told her that unity begins when we accept that God doesn’t only go to our church. I explained that I need to see more humility and less certainty. I want to hear someone say, “This is where prayer and study has led me, but I could be wrong.”

I read bloggers like Sarah Bessey and Elizabeth Esther who write boldly and profoundly about their faiths, unafraid to think critically and challenge themselves and others. I soak up everything they say. But for some reason, when it’s my turn to speak, I speak with an edge. I’ve got a bone to pick with a bunch of people, and are you ready to hear me out?

The difference between me and these women is they are not shaking their fists demanding that the clouds produce rain because we should have it.

They are learning to live in the drought.

I’m learning that to be heard, and to get any peace in this life, I have to start with admitting could be wrong, as much as I dislike the way that sounds coming off my tongue.

But if I let it sit there long enough without whisking it away, it’s actually the most freeing thing I’ve known. I could be wrong. 

If I could be wrong, then I’m freed up to not judge others for thinking differently than me. I’m free to not get worked up every time someone disagrees with me. I’m free to not try and carry such a heavy load around all the time.

I could spend my whole life angry and desperate to be heard, listened to, understood and agreed with. But that is getting so tiring.

I’m learning to let go.

As Baby G has morphed from a baby to a toddler in just the last few weeks, I’ve been forced to realize that she is her own person, not an extension of myself. Today she didn’t like the way I cut up her strawberries because she wanted to take bites off the whole berry. I can’t make her see things exactly the way I do, and trying to is a hilarious act of insanity.  I can’t even get her to wear the dozens of pretty headbands I stitched for her.

But you know, she doesn’t need to wear headbands, and she can take bites off a strawberry if she wants. Aren’t these such small issues in the grand scheme?

Today, a morning cuddle, my chubby toddler and I on the rug in our fleece pajamas, watching “Mary Poppins”. Pointing to the dancing penguins, laughing along with “I Love To Laugh.” Nibbling her ears to make her giggle. Kissing her all over, listening to cars slush by on the wet pavement outside. Breathing deep.

The rain is a humble reminder that I am not in charge.



  1. Kelly Cone on February 7, 2014 at 5:56 am

    We call our Gregory Baby G too! I feel the same way you do about the drought in CA– I’m so relieved that it’s finally started raining 🙂

    • Carly Gelsinger on February 7, 2014 at 6:05 am

      Baby Gs unite! Yeah it’s funny, because I didn’t even realize drought has been bothering me so much until today. I hope the rain keeps coming.

  2. A baby made my marriage better | Carly Gelsinger on February 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    […] Learning to live in the drought […]

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