I have spent a few days in Phoenix, Arizona. I was there to officiate at the baptisms of my newest relatives (baby first cousins twice removed). Phoenix is a desert valley surrounded by mountains, in a landscape dotted with imported palm trees and native saguaro cactus. It was hot – 110 degrees – and very, very dry. I left Connecticut in the midst of cool temperatures, torrential rains, and widespread flooding. The contrast could not have been greater.
To offer the blessing over the water in baptism in a dry place is to know how precious the gift of water really is. It is easy to take it for granted when it is so plentiful. I think it is the same way with the love of our family – easy to take it for granted because it is so overflowing. This week, though, we did not need a drought of love to know what a rare and precious bond we have. We were together with memories and celebration and babies and catching up and laughing and crying and eating cake and talking.
It was blessing, pure blessing, like sweet rain in the desert, poured out on all of us. Little Lindsey hugged her mama and added her sweet tears to the celebration; all-grown-up-almost-seven-year-old Ian poured the water and then later on swam like a fish in the pool; and baby Brennie sat up and showered his wobbly smiles on all of us. And it was a gift of God, as precious as a spring of water in a dry place.