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It’s going to be a stormy day today, and I have to work late. I hate to waste an entire stormy day at work, it should be properly celebrated with a sleepy morning, coffee, books (I am reading two very interesting ones right now, but more on that when I’ve finished), magazines and movies. And something simmering on the stove for dinner.

Most of my co-workers are complaining about the potential lightning and winds. I must be an adolescent at heart – I can find no reason for concern. So what if we lose power? It’s merely an inconvenience to me. Plus I’ve already been struck by lightning – so the odds of that happening again are very low.

Or at least I think I’ve been struck by lightning. It happened while I was watching the Ubi et Orbi blessing at the Vatican on Easter Morning. I was huddled under an umbrella and one of my students was standing with me, both of us were holding the umbrella. It was pouring rain, it was coming down so hard the facade of St. Peter’s was veiled, even though it was just a block away. The umbrella was more to keep the rain from pelting us in the face than to keep us dry, our clothes were soaking wet. And there was no reason to think there was lightning. Then all the sudden the umbrella sent off blue sparks, we both yelped as we felt a current course through our bodies. And that was it. The miracle is that we weren’t hurt or killed.

Maybe we weren’t struck by lightning, but why else would an umbrella send off blue sparks in the pouring rain?


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