God spoke to me last Saturday; right out of the fluffy white clouds encasing the baseball park in the ease of a summer day. The earth didn't shake. The winds didn't blow. The skies didn't roll. His voice didn't thunder. It wasn't one of those biblically electrifying scenes of awe.
In fact, as far as I could tell, no one heard him but me. While God commanded my attention, everyone else continued milling around the concessions booth, out-coaching coaches from the bleachers, shelling peanuts, watching boys swing bats, foul-mouthing umpires and sweating. In the midst of so much normalcy, it almost didn't seem real.
But it's summer and my circadian rhythm has returned to its natural state. The school-year rigor has given way to feet on the floor at 8:30, some days 9 a.m., and going to bed at midnight; a harmonious, clear-headed existence in these brief months of reprieve. This was not delirium induced hallucination. This was the voice of God.
He said, "Go back to the car and get your umbrella."
I looked up into the dizzying glare of the sun. I glanced toward the distant parking lot, having just returned from a second trip there already. I scanned the ballpark, spotting other parents wrapping their lips around relish dogs, scolding little-boy third basemen for not getting in front of grounders, casually competing via comparing their children's batting averages. No one else had an umbrella. Momentarily I settled on the idea that this was a suggestion rather than a command.
Then in the middle of my balk, I thought of Noah. God did not say, with a dismissive shrug, "Noah, if you should feel so inclined and it doesn't put you out any, I think, if you want to, you might ought to build an ark."
I wondered if there were there other righteous families God urged to start construction but who dismissed his directive as an interruption of more pressing obligations? Or were they afraid the neighbors would think them a few oxen shy of a herd?
God even made this easy for me, refraining from rattling off instructions about cubits or requiring that I collect a menagerie.
I sighed and turned to tromp back to the car, which prompted my 13-year-old son to ask where I was going this time. When I explained, he stared at me like I held a writhing rattlesnake in one hand, a jar of strychnine in the other, and spewed unintelligible utterances into the space between.
"Mama," he said condescendingly, casting his eyes upward, "why do you need an umbrella?"
"Noah would get his umbrella," I replied to the naysayer and trudged toward the scorching asphalt parking lot feeling like a fool, as the boy intended. I retrieved my blue and white golf umbrella from the car and strolled back to the ball fields disguising it as a walking stick, all the way fielding the curious question, "Is it supposed to rain," from dismayed people peering at the heavens for some sign of a storm.
About the time that I finally reached my 11-year-old son's tournament game, dark clouds gathered overhead and big, chilly raindrops began to splat. Spectators ran for cover beneath building overhangs. They clamored to pop-up tents for shelter. Some headed for their cars.
I raised my umbrella in the swirl of commotion. The world was awash in a downpour.
Within minutes, the rains retreated, the sun took up its blistering oversight of our activities and the cooled crowd quieted, waiting for the umpires to give the signal for it all to begin again.
And I knew that God had spoken.
Lucy Adams is the author of Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run. She lives in Thomson. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her Web site, www.IfMama.com.)