The front yard of Living Waters Christian High School was bustling on this sunny, frigid December morning as Shawna pulled her car into the teacher’s lot and parked. As she climbed out of her vehicle, she was again overcome with the urge to grab her umbrella. Glancing at the sky, she saw not a single cloud.
But she knew that she was supposed to bring that umbrella, so she grabbed the bag with bagel and juice in her left hand, using the other to take the umbrella. She headed for the side entrance of the building.
She stopped as she noticed a note taped to it, saying, “Please use front entrance.”
Her eyebrows raised in an arch as she turned toward the front of the building. As she passed students, some of them greeted her warmly. Some of them were indifferent. Some of them looked at the umbrella that she was carrying in her right hand and rolled their eyes, a few mumbling about how weird she was.
One of the students, a shy girl by the name of Justine Madeline, walked by, her dark hair pulled into a tight ponytail and two of her school books tucked into her arms. “Hi, Justine,” commented Shawna. “How are you, this morning?”
Justine looked at the ground as she passed. “I’m okay.”
Shawna stopped for a moment as the girl continued on her way. Something had caught her eye. But now, she could not place it. She turned to glance at Justine’s back, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary now.
Suddenly, the overwhelming desire to open that umbrella shoved itself toward the front of her mind and she followed that still, small voice just as the sprinklers turned on and began dousing everyone in the school yard with freezing water.
Screeches filled the front grounds as the students and some faculty lunged at the front door. Shawna stood patiently at the bottom step, waiting for everyone else to enter first. She glanced upward and whispered, “Thank you.”
She followed the last of the teachers, the math teacher, inside. He glanced at her as she flicked the water off of her umbrella back out the door just before closing it. “Why does it always seem like you know what’s going to happen before it does?” he asked her.
She smiled. “I guess I’m just blessed, Mr. Garrett.”
She walked past him as he took off his blazer, heading toward the back of the building. She passed the library, waiving at the students who were checking out books before class. Then she walked past the teacher’s lounge, noting that it was empty.
Approaching the utility room, she noted that Mr. Harris, the assistant principal, was scolding two students. Next to them were the controls to the sprinkler system. That, and the fact that the two students were both bone dry, helped the pieces fall into place.
Shawna stopped when she noticed what appeared to be glowing numbers etch themselves on each of their heads. One boy, whose head brandished the number five, was yelling, “My old man’s gonna kill me!”
The other one, with the number 3, yelled words that would make a sailor blush.
Mr. Harris, himself a Sunday School teacher, leveled a finger at the latter boy and said, “I’ll not hear anything like that from you again, Johnson.”
The two boys looked at Shawna and then Mr. Harris did, as well. “I have it under control, Ms. Weston,” he said as he noticed her umbrella. He cocked an eyebrow, shook his head, and turned back to the students.
With one last glance at the two students, just as the numbers—which the assistant principal obviously could not see—faded away, Shawna marched quickly to her room, the History class. Setting the bagel and juice on her desk, she hung the umbrella from her coat rack. Dropping to her knees in front of her chair, she prayed, Lord, what are you trying to tell me?