One of my favorite Erma Bombeck quotes: “The grass is always greener over the septic tank.” It made me laugh years ago, but right now, the septic field is the only green spot in our whole lawn, compliments of the Midwest Drought of 2012.
Front yards are filled with brown, crunchy grass, with gray weeds rising defiantly above. The ground under said grass is like lumpy concrete – no more bare-footin’ for me! The soil near the chrysanthemums is split with foot-deep dry cracks. We water flowers and vegetables (and the thistle that’s growing in the midst of my newly planted asparagus) by hose, good soaks every other day. The grass is only dormant, they tell us. It will come back. Right … probably loaded with weeds.
This last week, though, the lawn has grown in interesting patterns. The leaves on the big maples were beginning to wilt, and the weeping cherry in front made me really worried. So I put the sprinkler on around them, twelve hours in each spot, and hoped that the water would get down to the roots. (We have a well, so we aren’t under the watering ban most people are.) Now I have a green and brown crazy-quilt of a lawn that would make me laugh if I didn’t also drive past spiky, stunted corn every day.
This drought is obviously a lack of water, and there’s not much we can do but wait it out. However, it’s up to us to end other droughts in our lives.
I went through a writing drought after my first conference years ago. It was a week long (total newbies should never start with something that big), and I was completely overwhelmed at the thought of incorporating everything I had learned into my stories. I didn’t write for a full six months.
A spiritual drought hit when, for a number of reasons, my faith hit bottom. I was going to church only to avoid explaining to my children why I wasn’t going. Prayers, scripture study, my lovely long talks with God while I walked – they had all disappeared.
Friendship droughts are common when you move. A new town in a new part of the country can bring a loneliness that drags on and on. After thirty years of Navy and corporate moves, I can attest to that. Even a built-in social circle doesn’t automatically bring a friend you connect with.
But if these types of droughts continue, we have only ourselves to blame.
I finally shoved away all thoughts of how I was “supposed” to write, and just wrote for myself. Success! And then I could incorporate small pieces of what I learned as I was able.
It was up to me to look at what I believed, what I really believed at the core of my soul, and build back up from there. You can’t wait for faith from someone else – it’s an impossible gift to give. You can’t wait for God, either – His arms are open, it’s up to us to step into them.
I did find close friends when I stepped out of my comfort zone and invited others to lunch to get to know them. With a few of them, common interests led to laughter and shared stories, and we began building the history that leads to a deep friendship.
In central Indiana, scattered thunderstorms have rolled through in the last few days – not enough to say the drought is over, but enough that we’re not feeling so desperate. And while I’ve lived in this new town for a year now, I’ve traveled so much during that time that I’m still struggling with close friendships – but I’m meeting someone for lunch next week.
How about you? What kind of personal droughts have you had? How have you ended them?