She must have been six years old, this beautiful brown-haired, freckled-faced image of innocence. Her mom looked like someone from the Waltons or a moment captured by Norman Rockwell. Not that she was old-fashioned. Her brown hair was ear-length with enough curl to appear natural. She had on a pair of tan shorts and light blue knit shirt. Her sneakers were white with a blue trim.
She looked like a Mom.
It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the tops of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the Earth it has no time to flow down the spout. Drains in the nearby parking lot were filled to capacity and some were blocked so that huge puddles laked around parked cars.
We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Wal-Mart. We waited, some patiently, others aggravated because nature messed up their hurried day.
I am always mesmerized by rain fall. I get lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child come pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.
Her voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in.
"Mom, let's run through the rain," she said.
"What?" Mom asked.
"Let's run through the rain!" she repeated.
"No, honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.
This young child waited about another minute and repeated her statement. "Mom. Let's run through the rain."
"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.
"No we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her mom's arm.
"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?"
"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, He can get us through anything!'"
The entire crowd stopped dead silent.
Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.
"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If God lets us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said.
Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and, yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case.
They got soaked. But they were followed by a few believers who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. Perhaps inspired by their faith and trust.
I want to believe that some where down the road in life, Mom will find herself reflecting back on moments they spent together, captured like pictures in the scrapbook of her cherished memories. Maybe when she watches proudly as her daughter graduates. Or as her Daddy walks her down the aisle on her wedding day.
She will laugh again. Her heart will beat a little faster. Her smile will tell the world they love each other. But only two people will share that precious moment when they ran through the rain believing that God would get them through.
Yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.