Chapter Five: The Girl With The Bright Red Umbrella

The sky was dark, with ominous clouds shutting out the last hint of sunshine. The street was quiet, except for tiny droplets of water dancing across the pavement in random patterns like pinballs in a 1940’s arcade machine.

I wasn’t prepared. The weather forecast deceptively said clear skies. I could barely make out the bus stop as my eyes were blurred by the falling rain. Was I going to make it in time? Would I be drenched by the time I arrived? I didn’t even know where I was going. I wasn’t dressed for this weather. I wasn’t ready. But as we know, the end comes when we least expect it. Scurrying along, lost in my dreary thoughts, praying for direction, that’s when I saw Her.

A mere glance upward and there She was! A silhouette in front of me that wasn’t there before. Just as I was beginning to lose hope, She appeared. A gentle angel of a girl holding a red umbrella. As I got closer, I realized how bright the umbrella was, so welcoming and warm, drawing me in. She stood there under her very bright red umbrella, and called me by my name and said “You can stand with me. I’ve been waiting for you”. Was it that obvious I wasn’t made for this weather? How did she know I felt lost? Her warm smile and soft eyes drew me in like a bear to honey. I couldn’t say no. How did she know my name? Maybe she had the answers I was looking for! So I stood under the bright red umbrella with Her and I immediately felt at home. This gentle angel of a girl put her hand around mine and said “You are going to be okay. You are free now.”

The Girl and I waited for the bus together, under her bright red umbrella, whispering back and forth about all my concerns, questions, and unspoken truths. It took me a few moments to realize that while standing under the bright red umbrella with this Girl, the rain around us no longer felt cold. The dampness in the air had dissipated. The doom and gloom of the storm wasn’t so daunting anymore. I felt warm. Comforted. Secure. Just standing with Her, under her bright red umbrella, I felt at peace.

The bus arrived and the Girl with the bright red umbrella said “This is the beginning of your new life. Your Heaven awaits”. I started moving towards the doors, expecting the Girl with the bright red umbrella to follow. But instead, she stood completely still, as if she never intended to take the bus at all. She must have seen the questions in my eyes and she said, “I belong here. My journey has ended and I get to comfort the cold & weary as they travel home”. She smiled the most beautiful smile I had ever seen and it was obvious that she did truly belong there. This silhouette of a girl, with a bright red umbrella, encouraging the weary travelers to carry on. How lucky I was to have this time with her!

On impulse I hugged her tight and the familiarity of her arms around me and the smell of her perfume washing over me, I couldn’t help but smile! I was ready now. I glided up the steps of the bus, weightless, with the anticipation and excitement of a young child on Christmas morning. As the bus began to inch forward, I turned around in my seat, and I saw another traveler in the distance, cold and wet from the storm, scurrying towards the bus stop, looking as lost and discouraged as I was when I first showed up. The Girl with the bright red umbrella motioned for this traveler to join her under her umbrella, and just before they were out of sight, I saw them whispering, the silhouette of a girl placing her hand over the new travelers hand as She called the new traveler by name also and said “I’ve been waiting for you! You fought well and now you are healed”. I could see peace wash over the new traveler’s face and they embraced like old friends.

And then I knew.

The Girl with the bright red umbrella, after 33 years of searching the world for her purpose, She found it in Heaven.

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