“I Am Very Rich”
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“I Am Very Rich”

It’s raining tonight. The sound of the raindrops striking the copper roof of our bay window is mesmerizing. Certain sounds and smells open cobweb covered doors in my mind allowing a flood of memories to rush to consciousness. Tonight the rain on the metal roof inundates me with thoughts of Africa. For six years I taught in a one room red brick school building with a tin roof. Every morning the sun would draw water off Lake Victoria building enormous cumulous clouds that rolled north about noon. By two o’clock those clouds were over my little school and by some prearranged signal would open up. The sound was deafening. I loved to stand by the glassless windows and watch rivers of water pour off the corrugated roof. It always smelled so good.

My students, married men studying to be pastors, would be lost in their assignments but occasionally one would come and stand by me. One afternoon when the rain subsided enough to hear each other, one who stood near me asked, “Bwana, does it rain everywhere in the world at two in the afternoon?”

“Joel,” I said, “I wish that were so. But what does happen everywhere at two every afternoon is a down pouring of God’s blessings. It also happens at three and four and five. It never stops. We just need to be aware.”

In terms of material things Joel was very poor by our standards. That afternoon he put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Buwana, I receive those blessings. I am very rich.”

He was. I was.

Written by Roger Bothwell on Sept. 4, 2003
Spring of Life, 151 Old Farm Rd. Leominster, MA 01453