It is threatening to rain here in Central Minnesota. We need it, so I hope it comes. Young Son #2 also wants rain, otherwise he has to water our vegetable beds.
I mention the local potential for rain as a way to segue into a Sherman Alexie quote I found on Neil Gaiman’s journal. The quote comes from an article Alexie wrote after testifying at a trial to keep the Seattle Sonics from moving to Oklahoma City. The article is called “Sixty-One Things I Learned During the Sonics Trial.” Now, I’m not a big sports-lover, even after growing up with a brother who was a sports fanatic*, but I loved Alexie’s article. He manages to make his comments relevant to us non-sporting types and the whole thing is tragically (Alexie was on the losing side of the trial) humorous at the same time. One of the quotes Gaiman pulled from it was point number 53:
Do you know why Indian rain dances always worked? Because the Indians would keep dancing until it rained.
Isn’t that fabulous? It shows a stick-to-itiveness that most of us can only wish for. But, in reading Alexie’s entire article (which I recommend you do), there is a great lead-up to this point that starts two points before:
51. When the mayor’s press conference was over, I screamed. And my scream was immediately answered by thunder and lightning. My friend Aaron e-mailed me and said, “Can you believe it’s fucking RAINING right now?” Distraught, wanting and needing my family’s attention, I drove home. As I walked up the front steps, as I began to cry, as I touched the doorknob, it thundered so loudly that car alarms went off. Then, as I stepped into the house, closed the door behind me, and fell onto the floor and loudly wept, the wind blew open our back door. That’s the power of grief.
52. I don’t believe in magic. But I do believe in interpreting coincidence exactly the way you want to.
53. Do you know why Indian rain dances always worked? Because the Indians would keep dancing until it rained.
I believe precisely as Alexie does about coincidence. If you don’t get the shivers in recounting a serendipitous life story, then you haven’t invested enough meaning into the coincidence. We human beings live for meaning, so pile it on.
Which leads me to another story about rain, or rather, lightning. Supposedly (I haven’t found a source to verify this as true), a bar owner in Texas wanted to expand his bar and a local Baptist church didn’t want him to. The congregants of the church prayed for an act of God to stop the expansion. Lightning struck the bar and burned it to the ground. The bar owner sued the church, claiming its congregants’ prayers were responsible for his lost business. The church denied that it was responsible. Here’s the punch line from the blog Laugh It Out:
As the case made its way into court, the judge looked over the paperwork. At the hearing he commented, “I don’t know how I’m going to decide this, but as it appears from the paperwork, we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that does not.”
Which leads me to yet another story about rain. Did you know – and this is true – that the conservative group Focus on the Family has so much distaste for Democratic Presidential Nominee Barack Obama that it is praying for rain during his speech at the Democratic National Convention? While a little rain might not be a big deal, I have to wonder what else these nutty people are praying for. They may want to be careful or they could end up being held responsible for their prayers, or worse, having to deny their God.
The sky is darker. I’m still waiting for rain.
*(My sports fanatic brother now does announcing for various sports during his spare time, which is a perfect job for him, something you’d be keenly aware of if you’d ever had to listen to him making crowd noises from his bedroom while trying to fall asleep.)
Update – August 11, 2008 – 4:43 p.m. – I no sooner hit publish on this post and it started to rain. Hallelujah!