Rain in the forecast

It's supposed to rain tonight, and basically all weekend. 

I love rain.  I grew up in a place where rain was less common than snow, and when I lived in the Midwest and Texas I came to know torrential downpours for the first time.  I loved it, the power of it, especially when I could watch from behind a windowpane.  Now that I live in Southern California, basically in the desert, it's a special treat to me to have rain.

But there's a crimp in my pleasure now.  I spend Friday afternoons with homeless women, hearing their stories.  Rain is not something you love if you have nowhere to go.

I learn a lot from these women.  They are beautiful, and most of them don't know it.  Most of them have never been treated well, and some of them have been treated devastatingly poorly.  Often, I hear stories in which they are treated like objects; and sometimes I hear stories of the great kindness of strangers. 

Those who run the center tell me that they are glad I come because most of the women don't have anyone to talk to, and most of the volunteers and staff don't really have time.  Time is all that I have for them.  Time, and a smile or a hug, and some words of encouragement.  Sometimes they are sick or tired, or sad, and sometimes they are glowing with good news--an engagement, or a new place to stay, or a necklace given. I will never forget the incredible joy of one woman who was going to get new shoes on Christmas Eve.  Or the one who turned down the offer because she already had a pair.  (How many pairs of shoes do I have?)

And today, they were thinking about the coming rainstorm and whether they would have a dry place to lay their heads.  

I certainly think differently about the rain.


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