I’m not sure why I wanted to share this story. The motivation certainly isn’t to make myself look better. And in fact, I hesitate to share it for that very reason. Yet, Spirit has motivated me to write it out and share it, so I will.
It’s just a little story about two people, about how a rainy day became a sunny day. And how a rainy day never has to be any less glorious than a sunny day. It’s all about how you choose for it to be! And it’s a story about the glory and grace of giving. Oh how easy it is to spread Joy through giving!
Driving the kids to school this morning, at 8 a.m., there was a light, but cold fall rain. Taking our first right a few blocks from our home, I noticed a woman sitting on the bench waiting for the bus. She did not have an umbrella, but she did have a hood. She appeared to possibly be a refugee, as there are more and more such people in our community from Kenya, Sudan and elsewhere. She was dressed in a simple dress, work-boot like shoes and bobbie socks and a light spring coat.
I said to the kids, "Oh, I feel bad for her having to sit in the rain!"
My daughter replied, "Maybe she doesn’t mind, Mom."
True. Maybe she’s just happy to be safe and to be free, but dry, safe and free is even better! I dropped them off and drove back home to get ready for work. And wouldn’t you know it? She was still sitting there?
I looked in my van for an umbrella but couldn’t find one. I remembered I had one tucked in the entry closet, but by the time I find it, I thought, surely she’ll be gone! I went home and showered, ate my breakfast and played with our Lab, then headed out for work, running a bit late at about five minutes after 9. I happened to be going in the same direction as before. I was completely blown away to see the woman still sitting on the bench in the now steady, unceasing pouring rain.
I decided to turn around and go look for the umbrella. I opened the entry closet and found it right away. It was a child’s Spiderman umbrella, but who cares. It will do the trick, I thought. I drove back, parked the car and walked up behind the bench. Do you know what I heard? I’ll never forget it. I heard her humming and singing lightly! After sitting in the steady rain for an hour! Temperature in the 40s!
I opened the umbrella and she smiled. I pointed to her and I said, "I’d like you to have this."
She said loudly, "Thank you!" as she smiled even broader. And I walked back to my van – teary eyed and overcome with joy, and with a slight dismay at myself that it took me so long to do this simple act of kindness. She turned back, as if stunned, and I waved.
Now I will be so happy when I see her in the rain with her Spiderman umbrella. It continued to rain all day. I told my son that I hope he doesn’t mind. I told him that I had given away his Spiderman umbrella. He smiled and was teary eyed and said, "Oh, no Mom. That’s the best thing you could have ever done with my Spiderman umbrella!"
It is still raining now, and it is evening. I could not help but think of her all day, about how much use just today she got out of this umbrella! And how much I hoped that I hope I had warmed her heart as much as she warmed mine with her happiness…singing in the rain.