How not to use an umbrella?


The umbrella I borrowed.

Given how hot it is this month here in the Philippines, it’s a blessing to experience rain even just once. When it rained hard yesterday, walking to the parish with an umbrella, I remember how I use an umbrella as a college student. Here are my two (lame) excuses on how not to use an umbrella:

1. If not for courtship
Going to class in the university belt in Manila where it is common to experience rain from July to September, it is a must to bring an umbrella. With us guys, there’s a joke not to use the umbrella even when it rains because we just use it for “chivalry purposes”use it only when you are with a lady. And sharing an umbrella space with a lady is a big step on getting to know her. I only done it maybe twice when I was a sophomore.

2. Because it’s going to be wet
It’s also peculiar to catch my train of thought when it rains. Though I have an umbrella, I won’t use it because I don’t like my umbrella to get wet. Strange. Is it because it’s hassle to carry a wet umbrella in the train or jeepney?  Probably because it’s a liability when you try to stay dry and you’re carrying a wet umbrella. You need to dry it outside of the classroom during a subject or make a conscious effort not to wet yourself and others with it when traveling (that’s hard given how densely populated it is in Manila). It’s comforting to know some friends, even one professor, who shared this tendency. I thought I was the only one whose hesitant using the umbrella during the rainy season.

Are you uncomfortable with silence?

I’m not a talker… I’m more of a listener. Recently, during a spiritual direction session, I and the spiritual director (S.D.) just sat in silence. I’m just… well… trying to anticipate a question or a response from what I just said earlier. I was expecting him to talk.

We spent 5 minutes in an uncomfortable silence without talking.

Then my director got his notebook, turned the pages, then read what he wrote about our previous session. He expected me to be the one to talk! Closing the notebook, he followed that he encourages me to pause so I can reflect carefully. 

This is not the first time that it happened to me. Before religious life, it was during courtship and dating. Now, it is during a spiritual direction.

That’s why last Tuesday, I told my S.D. that I really found the silence uncomfortable and I will tell him whenever I expect him to talk or comment when I’m finished talking. Like tennis, I serve then you hit the ball back to me. But in a spiritual direction, I need to ask whenever the “ball” is on my court because I don’t usually see it.

Have you experienced this uncomfortable silence?