I ended up walking part of the way to work this morning in a pouring (and I do mean pouring!) rain. It's a long story, but suffice it to say that we had some schedule shifts. My dear husband had an out of town meeting and had to leave early, so he dropped me and the Sweet Girl off at the home of friends. Sweet Girl would get to stay the morning, enjoying time with those good friends, curled up with quilts by a fireplace, enjoying poetry and Veggie Tales videos. Sigh. I would have liked to stay for that myself but had to slog onward to work.
The rain was really pouring down. And I really do love rain. Even after nine years in the "post-industrial town that time forgot" as my oldest sister calls our little corner of the world. We get what feels like more than our fair share of rain here, and even in autumn, the rain has very little "color" to it. It's just grey, grey, gray. (There, two spellings of gray, just to cover the varieties of greyness.) This morning the rain pooled into little lakes all over the broken, uneven sidewalks. It was hard to maneuver around all of them; I had to just wade through some of them. As I got closer to church, I got nearer some warehouses that have industrial size gutters too. The rain just kept pouring -- from the sky, from the roofs and eaves, from the gutters, from the trees, splashing up from puddles on the street and by the curb. I was getting soaked.
But not nearly as much as I expected. Yes, intermittently, the wind blew somewhat briskly, spattering my denim skirt and black tights with raindrops, but you know what? I wasn't getting all that wet. I realized with gratitude that this had to do with my excellent shoes (grey water-proof all-weather mocs from Lands End) and my umbrella (a really big, lovely green one with pictures of William Shakespeare silkscreened onto it).
As you might guess, I can't afford beautiful umbrellas and really nice shoes very easily these days. But I have wonderful sisters. As I reveled in my blessings, I realized that these had been gifts from them. ML had given me a gift certificate for my birthday last spring, which had bought the all-weather mocs. And MM had given me the beautiful umbrella birthday before last.
So it dawned on me that, in the truest sense of the words, my sisters had me covered. It's humbling and lovely to realize that sometimes one really is clothed, from head to toe, in love and blessings provided by others. Sometimes those are literal blessings -- weatherproof shoes, shelter from the rain. Sometimes they're less tangible, perhaps, but nonetheless real. I wonder how many times we're cloaked in someone else's generosity and kindness and don't even give it a second thought?
My rainy walk became a three-block benediction. Thank you, Lord, for sisters. Thank you for love that cherishes, shelters and protects. Thank you for dry feet. Thank you that even early morning greyness, dripping down and glimpsed from under a green umbrella, can cover the day with beauty.