It was a beautiful late summer afternoon. I was just about finished getting ready to go to 5 o’clock Mass when I glanced outside. With a sigh of awe, I gloried in the cobalt blue sky for a moment. Then my eyes picked up some dark gray clouds far in the distance. On a whim, I grabbed my umbrella and dropped it into my tote bag, thinking: “Better safe than sorry.”
We arrived at Mass and after greeting a few of our fellow parishioners, settled into our pew. The sun was streaming through the stain-glass windows, creating a beautiful pattern on the floor and the wall. Saying my prayers, I gloried in my setting and how inspiring it was to my Spirit.
It wasn’t until the middle of our pastor’s thought-provoking homily that things began to change. All of a sudden it became very dark outside, and the light in the church completely changed. Shortly after that there was a deafening crash of thunder, followed by the pounding of torrential rain. The storm must have been directly over us.
After a few minutes, the intensity of the rainfall diminished, and the thunder and lightning let up, but the storm continued and the rain kept falling, falling, falling.
The Mass ended and the congregation headed towards the church exit – but everyone clumped up there because the rain was still falling.
“You wait here,” my husband said to me and my sister. “I’ll go get the car.” I offered him the umbrella, but he just smiled and darted off. That’s right, I reminded myself, he was a star track athlete in school.
While we were waiting, we met up with one of our acquaintances. She is a lovely woman, a senior citizen and single, and I noticed she was wearing a denim jacket and sandals.
“Where are you parked, Annie?” I asked. When she answered me, I figured it was about two blocks away. She would be drenched by the time she got to her car!
I saw my husband parked right in front of the church. Knowing that Annie always enjoyed chatting with other members of the parish after Mass, I decided not to offer her a ride to her car. Instead, I pulled out my umbrella.
“Here,“ I said, “use this so you don’t get drenched heading to your car.”
“Oh no, no, no, that’s okay,” she protested. “I’ll be fine.”
“Fine and soggy,“ I said with a chuckle. “Please, just take it.”
We went back-and-forth a bit until we reached the door and saw just how heavy the rain was falling. I raised my eyebrows and she gave me a smile.
“Now I feel better,“ I said, handing her the umbrella.
“I will return it next week.”
“No late fees charged, keep it as long as you need to.”
She gave me a wink and turned to speak with another parishioner.
As we scurried off to our car, I said a silent prayer of gratitude for my circumstances and most of all, sent prayers of thanks to Him, our spiritual umbrella — always there, always ready, always inspiring us, always our eternal protector.
This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.