Who would have imagined that those five digits could be so motivating? During the last few days the heat has been brutal and it’s been increasingly difficult to make those numbers on my fitbit click up to my goal. I had been pacing back and forth in the air-conditioned living room for too long and the steps just were not accumulating fast enough. So yesterday afternoon I made up my mind to brave the heat and take my stepping outside.
I was a little over a mile into my walk and was grateful for the cloud-cover that had moved in to protect me from the sun’s blazing rays. Remembering that I am trying to be more mindful, I slowed my pace and was intentional about noticing myself and my surroundings. I could feel the sweat under my sunglasses and could taste the saltiness on my lips. I took note that the side-ditches had recently been mowed and breathed deeply to take in the scent of the cuttings. As I did, I realized there was more in the air than the grass. I smelled rain.
I looked ahead and realized that my sun-covering clouds were darker than they had been when I began. The haze over the fields up in front of me gave witness that the clouds had broken loose. The storm had already begun, and it was quickly moving toward me.
I felt the first few drops and knew I wouldn’t make it the mile back to the house before it caught up to me. Instinctively, I assessed. My watch was waterproof, my phone water resistant. My headphones were neither, but if damaged were easily replaceable. The clothes and shoes would dry. I looked at the clouds again. No lightening, no rumble of thunder. In those few quick seconds I was able to make my decision- my things wouldn’t get ruined, I wasn’t in danger; I accepted that I was going to be soaked, and so I continued.
The rain came down in sheets. I saw and felt it bouncing off me and was thankful it wasn’t hail. My mind jumped back to my time in Africa and I could hear the South Sudanese saying “You’re being washed.” I smiled and felt thankful for the warm air and cool drops.
My shoes gushed with each step as I turned around at the halfway point. Cars were whizzing by on the State Route ahead, their wipers frantically wiping and their wheels giving off a spray. All of the people inside completely dry. I wondered if they thought I was crazy and questioned if any of them would stop. I was glad to change directions so that the water could pelt my back rather than my face.
The rain was moving on. It began to lesson and the sky lightened a little. I looked again at my watch. Not yet to my goal, but I knew I would be by the time I made it home. When I raised my head again, I saw the lights of my dad’s truck coming toward me.
He approached me and stopped, reaching over to roll down the window. He had a hint of laughter in his wide eyes as he told me he was sorry.
“Back at the house it was only sprinkling. When I realized it I got in the truck immediately. But I came around the bend and saw the road was soaked; I knew you would be, too. I’m sorry,” he finished with a bit of a chuckle.
“Its okay,” I told him, “I knew you would come as soon as you could.”
It was true, I knew he would come. It wasn’t exactly a subconscious thought I had had when I first smelled the rain, and it wasn’t a question either.
It was a conscious, doubtless knowing.
Trusting that he would come was the basis for having to make a decision when I felt the first drops, for otherwise no decision was necessary- I would have had no option but to walk. I just knew from somewhere within me that my dad would come for me.
I thanked him and told him that I would go ahead and walk back. He knew I wanted the steps anyway, and we were both well aware that there was no undoing the fact that I was soaked.
“I would have come sooner,” he reiterated, “but it had only just started at the house.”
I reassured him I knew that and thanked him again. He pulled ahead and turned the truck around, stopping one more time to be sure I really wanted to walk. I told him I did.
As he drove away a verse came to my mind from seemingly nowhere.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
I was both convicted and comforted. With all my being, I trusted that my dad would come to protect me from the storm, that he wouldn’t leave me to weather it on my own.
Do I have that same knowing of my Father in heaven? Do I trust and not question that he’ll show up in all of life’s storms? Do I understand that I won’t always stay dry, but that he will undoubtedly come to help me make it through?
As I finished my storm walk I whispered my prayer: “I do believe; help my unbelief.”