A low rumble of thunder woke me. The weather station had correctly predicted rain by 6:00 a.m. Sitting-up on the edge of the bed I listened to the morning rainfall starting to plink on the metal awnings. I threaded my arms through the sleeves of my robe and headed for the kitchen, noting how the dampness had made my joints markedly stiffer.
With a cup of coffee in hand, I ambled to the upholstered chair, set the coffee aside and slid open both windows. The fresh, cool air caused the sheer curtains to billow as it entered the house. I was greeted by a heavy whispering sound as raindrops landed on the leaves of the old apple tree. The aged Northern Spy’s distorted limbs passed so near to my second story window that I could easily reach out and shake them.
The foliage seemed to dance as big drops of rain splattered heavily against its parched and upturned leaves. The rainwater gained momentum as it moved in small rivulets down the outer tips of the limbs to the leaves below.
There were a lot of leaves on that old tree. The leaves toward the center were less soiled and reflected a richer green. Those innermost leaves received the rain too, but shimmied less from the now increasing downpour.
The tree was not far from the road so all of the leaves were sullied. The leaves that were dirtiest, in more need of the cleansing rain, were at the outer edge of the limbs. They were more exposed, less sheltered—or cloistered—by the protective canopy. They were also the ones that danced the most as the process of being made clean was taking place.
Something inside me stirred as I watched the purification of the dry and dusty leaves. There was a familiar parable to the event occurring outside the window. All of our souls need cleansing—those that are exposed and those that are cloistered—all need to be refreshed. And that freshening is brought about by washing away transgressions. The soul dances with the cleansing of Confession, its reconciliation to God.