You know I’m not big on religion or “signs” or anything like that, but in moments like these, I inevitably grasp at straws and find meaning everywhere. In songs on the radio, in stories on the news, in typical childlike queries. Sometimes in places I wish I didn’t.
Like yesterday when one of Braedan’s classmates, who knows us, who knows Austin, asked me if Braedan was an only child. Uuuuuummmmm, no.
Or how many times in the past few days, I’ve had to listen to Austin say, “I’m dying.” After racing laps around the house, he gulped big breaths and gasped, “I’m dyin’ here.” Then today, he showed off an enormous paper cut earned crafting a Mother’s Day project at school, and said, “I thought I was gonna die.” Okay, too much hyperbole around here.
Sometimes the messages — though equally random — aren’t necessarily bad, like when I got in the car the other day and there was a story on NPR about St George, the dragon-slayer. They were interviewing people who made pilgrimages to some statue of St George, asking for miracles or thanking him for whatever grace they’d been granted. One grandmother said she’d been visiting every year since her young grandson was cured of some terrible, but unnamed, disease.
We’ve seen a statue of St George before, back on our trip to Maine nearly two years ago. After each day’s outing, as we drove the winding roads back to our neighbors’ farmhouse, we’d pass through the tiny village of St. George, and there, out in front of the fire station, was a huge metal statue of him slaying a dragon. The kids loved that.
It says (in case you don’t have super microscopic vision): “Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking each morning and loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.” Ah, a real hero. Who has to slay dragons each and every day but still wakes up to love the world.
I was thinking about that story as I was out walking last night. As I approached a decision-making intersection, I noticed the sky was threatening rain and almost turned toward home. But I kept on and as I headed toward Horseshoe Lake, the sky in front of me was perfectly blue and the sky behind me held a shining sun while the sky directly over my head was grey and raining. And I thought, “Oh, of course. I have my own personal little rain cloud, following me wherever I go, raining on only me.” And in the midst of feeling sorry for myself, something clicked in my brain, something about the sun behind and the rain overhead. And I looked up ever so slowly, wishing and hoping like my child’s life depended on it.
And there it was:
I hope you can see in that last image that there is not one, but two rainbows. And for the few minutes that it took me to hurry home, all felt right in the world.
I’ll take what I can get.