In the Rain

Resolution: Find more ways to serve people by identifying their needs and doing something to fulfill them.

Last night, I was hanging out with friends of mine. We were coming back from the Wilk when we saw another friend walking by himself in the rain. We called him over and were chatting for a bit. We invited him to come with us over to Stover lobby, and he declined because he wanted to take a walk in the rain.

"It's very therapeutic," he said. I offered to come with him, and he declined.

We parted ways, had to stop here, there, and everywhere in between where we started and where we were actually trying to go (we're freshmen; apparently this is how we do things), and we finally made it over to Stover Hall.

We were almost inside when we saw this friend again, and he was absolutely soaked. He had been outside anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour since the first time we saw him, and who knows how long he had been outside before that. And to be honest, I've always had a concern for this friend that I cannot quite articulate, and he has given me no observable reason to feel that I can think of, but this kind of feeling is so instinctive to me that I don't really question it because I've realized that I just can't.

So I did what any girl in my position probably would have done. I went up to some mutual girl friends of ours, told them what I had seen, and they sprung into action to go and find him. As they were pulling on boots and coats, leaving the merriment of Stover Hall to hunt down someone I wasn't even sure was actually in trouble, I wondered if maybe I had overreacted, and had sent a cavalry of girls to intrude upon the peace he was seeking in a way that would have driven me NUTS had it been sent after me in that situation.

I anticipated that he would tell them the same thing he had told me, so I went up to some of our mutual guy friends and asked them to talk to him later when they saw him. I expressed my concern, and they took it in stride.

"I like walks in the rain," said one friend, "it's very therapeutic."

"That's exactly what he said," I commented. It was only then that I connected that in order for an activity to be therapeutic, something probably has to be wrong with you first.

I asked a guy friend of mine that I trust entirely, one more removed from the situation that has taken such walks with me, whether or not what I had done was a mistake--whether there was a cause for concern for this friend. Eventually he said he didn't think so, and that put my mind at ease--and right at that second, in came the cavalry with a very wet target.

He came in and mingled, and I watched him. At one point, he was standing by himself by a piano, touched a few keys without sitting down, looked like he was thinking very inwardly and sternly about something, then looked up to see me watching him. I smiled, didn't break my stare, and he got the biggest grin on his face and bounded over to me; not an uncommon thing for him to do.

He asked me how the activity at the Wilk went, and I showed him and told him about the rose I had waited for over an hour in line to dip in wax for 30 seconds. We talked very animatedly about not much in particular, just like we do every morning at breakfast after our early morning custodial jobs. I gave him my rose and told him to keep it. He didn't insist that I take it back like I had anticipated. We invited him to come watch a movie with us on campus, and he declined. We eventually gathered our group and left the building.

How do you know when to step into someone else's life and redirect their sojourn out of the rain? How can you be sure that you aren't imagining your concern when you look at a situation and realize that your evidence for a crisis is entirely subjective and circumstantial? Why is it so hard to distinguish between someone searching for truth and someone getting themselves entirely too lost?

I decided in that moment that I would rather be too careful, too concerned, than to watch one of my Father's sheep wander off into the orange glow of a rainy evening. Maybe I'm just projecting, but I've never seen a sheep wander into the darkness that wasn't in more darkness than I realized.

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