For over a week, I have prayed that it would not rain on Saturday. Each day, the weather forecast changed and the chance for rain on Saturday went down and then back up. I finally realized on Friday, that we were probably going to get rained out.
With summer pop up showers, I have learned to just keep going until you are actually standing in the rain. The only plan is to keep pushing forward until the actual water from the sky stops you.
So we proceeded.
About 3 in the afternoon we began to set up all of the lights and sound. I say “we” but in the big scheme of things, I know that I am not really that much help- I try, but I can only lift so much. And right now, three o’clock in a parking lot is really hot, in case you wondered!
By 4:30 we were getting close- the set was up and ready, the prop table was set behind the curtain, the lights were on their stands, six speakers were placed around the parking lot and hundreds of feet of cables and extension cords were run around and through the area.
I took a moment to go to the truck to get my theatre bag when I heard, “Grab the tarps!” as I turn to see the first rain drops fall. They were those big, spaced apart drops that usually mean it won’t rain for long, and sure enough, about the time we got things covered, the rain had stopped.
In the sweltering heat we had all endured all afternoon, the water on the asphalt immediately evaporated. For the couple of people who had run to the theatre for a moment, they never even realized that it had rained at all.
The humidity was like a heavy blanket after that short shower and we all finished setting up in clothes that stuck to us with the sweat. A couple of times I just had to sit down as the heat got to me.
Eventually I went to the theatre to change clothes, then meet with and talk to the cast. We stayed more than the requisite 6 feet apart as I went over last minute instructions in the cool air conditioning. We chatted a bit before heading back to the parking lot.
In those 30 minutes or so that I had been inside, the sun had lowered and the breeze had picked up just a bit. The heat and humidity no longer felt so oppressive. I spoke to a few people, had my picture taken for a local publication and then headed “backstage” to become someone else for the next 90 minutes.
The show went off without a hitch. Sound and lights were flawless, the presenters all found their rhythm and told their stories with meaning and enthusiasm. The audience laughed at the right times, were silent at the right times and seemed totally engaged throughout. For that hour and a half, about 200 people connected and shared a common experience, a group of relatable stories based on a world wide event we are all experiencing together.
After the show, I was exhausted and relieved. Somehow it had all come together and actually happened, safely and without incident.
After we spoke to some of the audience members (not a lot of that due to social distancing!) we began to take down what we had so carefully set up only a few hours before. Although I had not gotten overheated during my several costume changes, which at one point had me in 5 layers, I once again felt hot and sweaty as I helped take down the technical equipment.
Just as we finished, as all of the furniture and platforms, curtains and props were back in the theatre, as all of the lights and speakers, microphones and amps were back in the trailer, and as I sat in the passenger seat of the truck, the heavens unexpectedly opened up and it poured!!
My first thought was that God had smiled on us for all of those hours so that we could share these meaningful stories. Now She was saying that we had done a good job and that we deserved the cool rain as a reward.
It rained hard and for a long time. We stopped the truck by the theatre’s back door and I ran in to get my clothes and some flowers and wine a thoughtful cast member had brought me. In that short run, I had gotten drenched, but I hardly felt it.
I talked to the show’s producer and his wife for just a moment when suddenly, the power went out. The lights quickly came back on and we all said, “That was our cue to go home.” Again, it is hard not to see God nudging us to go and rest.
I know that there are those who only see the coincidence and I know that in the midst of all that is happening right now, not just in my life, but in the collective lives of the world, that our little show is hardly the most important thing on God’s plate. And I am the first to wonder sometimes, exactly what is God doing and how is all of this happening to us?
Then you have the rain that stays away all day after so much prayer and hope, that pours down it’s cooling joy just as you finish up and then blinks the lights at you to say, “Good Job! Now go home! Rest!”
You can call me crazy, you can shake your head in disbelief, you can laugh at me and my naivety, but you can not convince me those 200 people didn’t need that night of laughter and emotion and comradery and someone, somewhere let it happen.
We worked and worried and kept the faith and after all of the sweat, all of the literal blood and tears, all of the uncertainty and distancing and mask wearing and learning curves and excitement and trepidation, somehow, it all was perfect.
And when it was all done, then it rained.