Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Today I accompanied Pete to the city of Hefei, in the north central part of China. Our flight was delayed an hour due to a tropical storm that was moving through this morning. It soon passed, however, and before long we were at our destination; he went his way with the team, and I went mine. I had read about an especially beautiful park and garden built around a lake in the middle of the city. It is dedicated to Lord Bao, an adept administrator who lived during the Song Dynasty. The complex contains three historic sites, the Lord Bao tomb, his memorial temple, and a “floating village.”
I strolled through the gardens and was amazed at the beauty of the lotus, now in full bloom. A meandering path took me to the most adorable little “stone boat,” situated in a secluded lagoon ringed with weeping willows and filled with brightly colored lotus. Just as I got to the boat (which is covered with a tile roof) the skies opened. One would think that by now I would know better than to venture out without an umbrella, but nope, I was stuck. There was so much more to see, how would I have time with this setback?
Then it dawned on me that this is exactly what I was supposed to see. I was perfectly dry, and the storm brought down the temperature noticeably. And so I sat and took it all in. If the rain hadn’t come just then, I would have missed the wonder of the place. Have you ever seen a big yellow koi fish frolic in the rain? I did, and I highly recommend it. He swam up to the surface and felt the pelting drops. Instead of taking cover, he gleefully flapped his tail and did a few belly rolls for me. It was perfect.
They say that into every life a little rain must fall. What we choose to do when it happens makes all the difference. Do we get angry over our lack of control of the situation? Or do we welcome an unexpected moment of grace and take the time to stop and really look around both internally and externally? God is always talking to us, it is we who who must attune our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds to perceive it.
Blessings, Father Rick