Yesterday morning, as I was driving to work, it started to rain. As I drove past a school zone I noticed two women who had most likely just dropped off their children. They were walking in the middle of a parking lot, like they were taking the short route home. I wished that I had an umbrella to give to them. I would play the hero and help them stay dry. Of course, my mind never went to the most logical solution—offering them a ride. Instead of identifying the way that I could be most helpful—and actually being helpful—my altruistic tendencies lost out to daydreaming as I drove on.
I started thinking about how amazing it would be to have a lot of umbrellas to hand out to people who were stranded in the rain. I thought that I would be clever and put “My God Reigns” on the umbrellas. I remembered a video I saw on television–a group of people, in a downpour, passed out free umbrellas featuring encouraging messages that only appeared when the umbrellas were opened. I internally admonished myself for being excited about my unoriginal idea. I recovered and grinned about “My God Reigns” as I continued on to work.
Later that evening, as I watched television, I thought that I heard thunder. I checked the back deck to see if it was raining. I didn’t spot any evidence of rain, so I shrugged it off and convinced myself it must have been a passing truck. I knew that my car’s back windows were slightly cracked open. I had planned on going back out there to retrieve my coat and some papers in about an hour. Since I saw no evidence of raining, I went back to watching Once Upon a Time on Hulu. Nearly 20 minutes later I heard the familiar sound of tires driving over wet pavement. I jumped out of my chair in a classic, “this just got real” moment. I stepped into my shoes, picked up my keys, and flew out the door.
Rain poured down on me as I struggled to use the broken door handle to open the driver’s side door. I turned on the car and rolled up the windows. The radio blared, “Our God is greater, our God is stronger…” I shut off the car. I opened the rear door on the driver’s side and grabbed my coat and used it to wipe up the water from the leather car seat. No real harm was done to my car’s interior, but I was thoroughly annoyed at myself for waiting until it rained to retrieve my items from the car.
As I gathered and carried more items than I realized inside the house from the car I thought back to the ladies walking in the rain. I had given more time to thinking about how to save others from rain that morning than I had done for my own self that evening. I had imagined being a hero in the rain, but I did not even bother ensuring that the rain would not spoil my own interior.
I thought my eyes were just irritated from allergies—now I’m convinced that there was a huge beam of wood hanging out right above my tear ducts.
Since reflecting on these events, I have remembered something pertinent about the video I had seen—the umbrellas did not feature encouraging messages at all. The clip I had seen was from the British prank show, Balls of Steel. The Annoying Devil character put rude messages on the umbrellas and passed them out freely to an unwitting public. Somewhere in my mind, I translated a Devil character as helpful and encouraging.
This water is deeper than it appears. I can see that now.