Shattered Tomato and Dripping Rain

tomato - photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

We had been having torrential downpours all day. I usually love the sound of the rain, but there is one sound that I don’t like: Drip. Drip. Drip.

It’s really not a sound I like to hear coming from inside the roof of my car.

As the rain intensified, the drip quickly became a steady stream dousing my pocketbook, the seat, and the floor. I rushed to plug the leak at the edge of the sunroof and kept thinking that I should’ve known it was going to be this kind of day when the tomato had exploded that morning.

I hadn’t been awake five minutes, and I really needed coffee. As I reached for a coffee cup, I noticed mold on the top of the tomato that I had left on the counter to ripen. It was a big tomato—six inches in diameter—and by all standards, it was a really beautiful tomato. I had been looking forward to biting into it on the BLT I had planned on making for lunch. I gently lifted it to see if any part was salvageable. As I lifted, the tomato shattered. I stood there holding the dripping remains of the tomato skin at the epicenter of a seven-foot radius of red mush. My lunch dreams were dashed. I was on the floor mopping up the red goo before I had even had my coffee.

It was that kind of day.

That evening, my son came home with a look of angst on his face. “What happened?” I asked.

“A rock dropped out of a construction truck onto my windshield!” he exclaimed.

I went out to inspect the damage. It was broken beyond repair.

Why was I not surprised? I was glad it was 9:00 p.m., because I really wanted the day to end.

I sat down by my bed and took a deep breath as I worked to center myself before starting the Examen. Thank you, Lord, for…um…my car roof leaking…my son’s windshield being shattered? Really, Lord, what was that all about?

Hmmm, that didn’t sound very grateful, I thought to myself.

I breathed in deeply, refocusing.

I suddenly realized it could have been a lot worse.

Thank you, Lord, that I was sitting in my car when the rain started to pour in, so that I was able to plug the hole and cover the roof so that my car wouldn’t be completely flooded, because it’s supposed to pour all night.

Thank you, Lord, that the big rock that shattered my son’s windshield was stopped by the windshield and didn’t hit my son’s face instead. (The rock had broken the windshield right in front of his face).

I know these things happen, Lord. I’m sorry I didn’t notice that you were actually helping us through them.

Please give me strength to get through tomorrow, and please help us find good mechanics who can help us fix our cars!

As I lay down to sleep, it occurred to me that St. Ignatius had really struck gold with the Examen. The Examen always helps me put things into perspective. Praying it before bed helps me off-load the things that are weighing on my mind and sleep unencumbered by the events of the day. And it gives me hope as I am always reminded that tomorrow is a new day—fresh and unshattered.

Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash.

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Rebecca Ruiz holds a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.A. from Tufts University. She has been trained as an Ignatian spiritual director through Fairfield University’s four-year formation program. Rebecca served in refugee resettlement for nearly 15 years and has also worked as an ethnomusicologist, composer, and writer. She and her husband have two sons and live at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. She strives, as St. Ignatius taught, to see God in all things and do “all things for the greater glory of God.”


  1. Rebecca!
    This reflection reminded me when my sons and I were walking home through the waist-deep flooded streets in my country… when suddenly I disappeared and fell into a manhole.. setting my sons into panic.. but the Good Lord used my shoulder bag to stop my being swallowed towards the storm drain! He still has my name in the palm of His Hands.

  2. Thank you Rebecca! Yes, we need to change how we see things! Take off those blinders of negativity and put on the shades of gratefulness!!!

  3. Thanks Rebecca. The Examen is priceless. Long live the memory of the contributions of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

  4. Oh, Rebecca. Send some rain to dry and weary California.
    What causes one person heartache is the longing of someone else.


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