It really couldn’t have been worse. It was six fifteen on a cold January morning. The drive in was uneventful but the huge puddles betrayed a night of downpours now ceased.
Pulling into the car park for the first time in over four weeks was with mixed feelings, it was always inevitable that a return would happen but today seemed too soon. A fitful disrupted sleep had preceded the early rise, Sunday nights are never peaceful or deep in the slumber department but this had been particularly poor.
For the last three weeks no morning had been greeted before nine, the duvet had remained firmly on top and my feet cosily remained tucked in until it was confirmed that no more sleep was possible.
The anxious heart that had escaped prematurely from work that Monday those weeks ago was stilled by calm days and festive celebration. The trip North to my sacred place was still fresh and comforting to my senses, the wide silent beach and the bright sunshine illuminating the endless sky was at the front of my stored memories.
But as the hand brake was applied it began, a deluge from the sky that started heavily and increased steadily until the car was rocking in the wind. The vehicle sitting snuggly next to mine was deflecting little of the force of wind and rain, with eyes closed I could have been under a waterfall.
A colleague arrived and slotted his chariot beside mine against the fence, bravely he pulled up his hood and made a dash for the safety of the building.
I was rooted to the seat.
The ergonomically structured cushions that had come from a design team in far off Japan drew tighter as I sunk further down. How could they know these years later that their attention to care and detail would be comforting a forty something man as he anticipated the dread of a new day. Stoutly refusing to venture into a harsh world he felt the fabric and padding envelop his posterior in a comforting embrace.
Then it happened.
All of the years of study and preparation had led him to this moment, the last few years of self discovery were for this time. His noble quest for this dark wet January Monday was to make it fifty yards across the car park.
With eyes firmly closed and breathing being levelled he entered the moment. The rain was bouncing on the roof of the car but he was dry, the wind was rocking but he was unaffected inside the steel cocoon. Calmness arrived and the words of an ancient Roman filled his ears,
“I can do all things through Christ who pours His strength into me.”
The weary Apostle had fought bravely against misunderstanding and hate, against violence, shipwreck and prison but pushed gamely on with this thought as his motto.
My challenge was smaller in the grand scheme of things but no less in the life that I live.
Fifteen minutes did nothing to lessen the intensity of the rain, but in those minutes a resolve built that got me from my seat in the dry warmth out into the storm and into the day.