Sunday, November 3, 2019


The rain poured and poured on Thursday as the temperature bottomed out. I looked through my windows from my third floor classroom at CCHS, unable to see clearly as the mist covered the glass. The streetlights forced their gleam through the drops into the room, barely reaching the point of any type of illumination, yet I knew the lights were out there amidst the rain. 

I stayed at school a little bit later that day, finishing up some grading, talking to a student, planning for the upcoming week; Thursdays are that day for me as I attempt to pull my act together so that I can retreat to the comfort of home for the weekend. Once I finished, I cleared the top of my desk, put my pens away, stacked the papers I needed to distribute the next day, turned off the whirling ceiling fan, then locked the door as I left. As I trudged down the stairs and out to my SUV, I wondered if I had time to go home to rest in order to go to the Thursday night football game. The rain though. The rain.

My sister-in-law Lisa brought Mom home from her doctor's appointment with great news about her ever-improving health. The bad weather had been hovering over Mom for most of the summer, so positive news is always a welcome gift. It was cause to celebrate, so I chose to toss on some shorts and a t-shirt to hang out with Mom that evening and watch the live broadcast of the Central game on MEtv. Of course, the rain had other plans as the electricity blinked out fifteen minutes before game time, leaving us with the only option of listening on my phone in the darkness. So that's where we stayed. I pulled a blanket over myself on the couch, Mom wrapped herself in a throw, and Charlie-Bear curled up on his bed as a candle glowed from the fireplace.

The weekend brought less rain and more sun as I was finally able to make it to the mall on Saturday without having to navigate the construction that brought congestion throughout the week. Finding the time to slowly meander throughout the store while checking off items from a carefully developed shopping list was a catharsis for me. No place to go. No need to hurry. A sense of solitude surrounded by strangers.

As I exited the back row on my last leg of this trip, I cautiously avoided those moving at a quick pace that I chose to avoid this day. Fate brought me to Bob Furka, the father of one of my former students, his number one son Chris. I had not seen Bob for a while but knew his wife Linda was having her own health issues. (Keeping these things under-wrap in a small community is challenging at best.) We talked for a long time, both of us putting aside our shopping lists amid the crowd that was building throughout the store. We talked about Chris and college, baseball, and the Diocesan troubles. But as we talked about his wife and my mom, we shared our hopes and the beliefs that our loved ones would persevere with grace and dignity through their challenges. At the end of our heart-to-heart talk near the Doritos display, Bob slipped me a wristband he, his family, and his friends are wearing to support his wife: No One FIGHTS Alone!  I placed the band around my wrist. Isn't that the truth?

Rain. We see it as both restorative as well as destructive, a relief as well as an inconvenience. The same rain that can assist the extinguishing of forest fires in California is the same rain which can cause the flooding of homes here in West Virginia. The same rain that can feed the crops we need for food can also wash away the seeds that the farmers have planted. The same rain which is a constant stress at our jobs is the same rain which directs us into the arms of those we love. The same rain which can be a disease a loved one is fighting can be the same rain which brings people together in support of one another. Rain. Regardless of how and when it appears, the effects on all of us truly are defined by how we perceive it, understanding that the blessings and trials which accompany it enable us to gain greater appreciation and wisdom regarding life itself.

I have already created four podcasts. This is a new venture for me, so I hope you can give them a listen. You will find the recent episodes in the upper right corner of this web page. I will be releasing a podcast about this particular post on Thursday. I want to give you some background and motivation for writing this as well as a personal reading of the post itself. I hope you can listen to it!

Picture Credits:
Google Images


  1. You filled my heart with joy as I read that your Mom had good news. I've been praying daily for her. I now thank the Lord! Your Mom has always approached life with grace and dignity. She is truly an inspiration!
    "A sense of solitude surrounded by strangers" these are such perfect words for how I often feel. Odd, how that same sense of solitude found in crowds can only be found in the mountains at other times! Thank you for sharing your beautiful refelctions!

  2. Ahh, rain...I've been talking to God about that a bit lately and giving my input about when it should rain (just at night, please). The sun came out this week...literally and figuratively. Thanks for sharing your perspective. Love you, AJ!