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Without an Umbrella

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I hesitated. Walking could be postponed. It wasn’t on my list of priorities for the day. The house needed vacuuming. Besides, showers had been forecast.

On the boot tray near the door, however, my empty runners practically begged to be occupied. The midmorning hands on the giant wall clock stretched wide; one was pointing outdoors. Glancing heavenward, I reached for a light jacket and was off.

In the May warmth, fields had greened and trees exploded into leaf. The newly graded country road appeared sleepily undisturbed. To avoid the handicap of loose gravel, I walked in one of the twin paths already forged by hefty tires. The air was heavy and still, the sky noncommittal. I continued at a brisk pace, deep in thought, eyes down.

When I looked up, I realized with horror that I shouldn’t have come.

A flatbed truck loaded with hay bales was approaching in the distance. It was travelling at
full speed, judging from the dust that obliterated everything in its wake. Once before, during a breezeless walk, I had nearly choked to death in the dense, smothering cloud left by a passing vehicle. Measuring the distance with my eye and calculating my chances, I turned and raced for the house, hoping to arrive in our yard before the truck passed by. The truck rumbled past just as I ducked behind our workshop, panting hard and chuckling to myself. Now, for sure, I thought I should abandon my walk. But I wavered as the thick blanket of grey powder settled.

Before long, an inexplicable tug found me back on the road, resuming my earlier pace. When I reached my turning point, a gentle splat on the forehead hinted that, this time, I might not make it back to the shelter of our yard in my original state. Groaning aloud, I responded to the challenge and again began to run towards home.

It was not to be. The swollen heavens split. Rain dripped off my nose, seeped through my nylon shell, glued clothing to my skin, and marinated my best runners in grit. With each stride, indignation mounted.

Suddenly I stopped straining, and jerked to a halt. A strange thing was happening. I tasted it first – the pleasure in the moisture. The unwelcome shower began to wrap me in a cleansing caress. I became aware of startling freshness – the release of imprisoned scent as plant life shed its grime and glistened in renewed splendour.

Yielding to the freedom of the moment with awkward abandon, yet with senses alert, I revelled in the exquisite sweetness of the downpour. I was soothed, yet energized, by an astonishing aura of healing and wonder, laughing out loud. Drenched. Without an umbrella.

Questions soon tumbled off my lips. Please, God, how was it with the church in Acts during the outpouring of your Holy Spirit? Could it be the same way for the church in the 21st century? For me?

Could we be eager for the ongoing cleansing, fragrance, and power of your Spirit? Could we be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) without hesitation, resistance, or fear? Without an umbrella?

If so, dear Heavenly Father, let the torrents come! We are dusty and thirsty.

Ruby Cleroux is a writer who lives in Lethbridge, Alta.

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