When we were assigned to Cairo, Egypt the first thing I did was Google. This, of course, led to WAY too much information and most of it not useful. I found out it was the largest city in the Arab world and Africa (Wikipedia). Along with being mostly desert. I bring this point up because being a girl from New Mexico; I know what living in a desert means. No rain. No trees. And dirt. Dirt. Dirt. Dirt.
When we arrived in Egypt, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that because of the Nile and humidity drifting from the Red Sea and Mediterranean our little suburb, Maadi, was very green. Even more surprising was on our second day being in country it rained. And on the fourth. And on the fifth. That’s a lot of rain for a desert, I thought. Two weeks after we’d been in country it not only rained-it hailed. Yep, this God-fearing girl was now watching for the locusts. They never came, but the evacuation out of Egypt did-one week later (and that’s a whole other story).
I learned a valuable lesson about rain in Egypt. DON’T STAND UNDER A TREE. That’s right. As I mentioned before Egypt is a desert. Desert=dust. Dirt here sits on the trees and when it doesn’t rain that dirt accumulates. Then when the random rainstorm comes all of that accumulated dirt washes off the trees and onto the unsuspecting victim beneath.
What I love about the rainstorms here in Egypt, and rainstorms in general is the sense of cleansing. Renewal. What was dusty and dirty become clean and fresh (unless you happen to be standing under the tree and then it’s the opposite).
As a writer there are many times when I feel dry. Ideas are not there. The words don’t come. It’s like a desert. Those dry spells are awful. So what do I do when I’m parched? Well, believe it or not, some of my best ideas come when I take a shower. At first I thought how odd, but I’ve read that many writers get ideas when they’re in the shower. Not an ideal place since you can’t write anything down when you’re wet and soapy (although I did read about a writer who used crayons to write on the tiles in her shower because she could jot the idea down and then wash it off afterwards) but I think the sense of renewal, the cleansing of my mind helps me to think of new ideas, or how my characters can react to their current situation, or how my setting can make the story deeper.
God sent his Son to cleanse away the dirt from our heart. To renew our lives. To give us a new path. Just like a good rain storm there’s the promise of fresh hope in Christ. On this second week of Thanksgiving, I pray you will be refreshed and renewed.