Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The Sound of Rain

As she's gotten older, our pup Ellie has gotten more and more twitchy.  She was always a bit of a cat-like dog, prone to staring out the window looking wan and somehow forgetting to come when called.  She's the kind of dog who you have to search the house for when you get home.

She's sweet with kids, and great with guests, and tends to show up when you're feeling upset with a strangely intent look on her face.  "You doing ok," she emotes.  Of course, once she's determined that you're fine, she wanders off again, but still.

The last few years, though, she's started having real trouble with unsettling noises.  Fireworks, sure, most dogs have problems with that.  Thunder?  That's pretty common.  But she's now consistently unsettled by the sound of our icemaker dropping a load of ice into the freezer bin.  She's most disturbed, it seems, by the sound of rain.  Not thunder.  Just plain ol' rain, falling on our roof.  It makes a noise.  Noise means danger.  

She gets panicky, wandering around in circles, staring at walls, panting and so overwhelmed by the rain that she's utterly unresponsive.  In a particularly heavy downpour, she'll get as low in the house as she can, and then she'll start trying to dig her way further down, through carpet and the padded flooring in our workout room. 

Thundershirts and doggo CBD do nothing.  There's a doggy anxiety med that sometimes works, but not always.  Mostly, she just can't deal.  She just has no idea what's going on, and her pupper brain can't process the input.

It'd be nice to say that humans are different, but we're often not.  If we have no frame of reference from which to understand and cope with uncertainty, we come apart.  Similarly, if our frame of reference isn't sufficient to take into account a new reality, we'll struggle to respond in any constructive way.

We become paralyzed by our fears, staring without comprehension at the world around us.  We become reactive in ways that are destructive to self, relationships, and community.

As we struggle with the unfamiliar din of our times, hearing the rattling of discord and the uncertain future of our failed pandemic response, it's entirely understandable that we might have a similar anxiety reaction.  Lord, is it ever.  But as hard as it might be metaphorically raining out, having a solid ethical and spiritual foundation helps us find our way, and to respond in ways that are constructive and hopeful, wise and gracious.

Faith, which orients us to that which is both a present comfort and an endless unveiling, lets us engage with the unexpected and the traumatic, and to overcome and not be ruled by our fears.  

Our faith is living and adaptive, as our foundation in Christ and the living witness of the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to the best possible paths forward.  

That's the foundation of our hope as we press forward into this stormy time.