This morning I took a little ride along a canal I frequently traverse. The canal runs parallel to an exclusive golf and country club. Although I’ve never been in this particular club, I can see quite a bit of the golf course’s perfectly manicured fairways and greens from my vantage point. The pristine landscape doesn’t hold a candle to an untended hedgerow of bougainvillea that runs along the backside of the property’s concrete privacy wall. The people inside those walls have no idea of the beauty and splendor on the backside of that wall. The colorful flowers beckon a wealth of birdlife and butterflies.
Although I’ve not visited this particular club, I’ve been to several just like it, usually to play golf. They’re all interchangeable with the same ostentatious surroundings and an overabundance of obnoxious people. Case in point, one time, about 10 or so years ago, the mister and I were playing a round of golf with friends at a club where we were members. I was pulled aside at the turn by a golf course employee who informed me my Lija golf shorts were considered to be too short by a group of ladies who were also playing that day. I was humiliated, to say the least, and forced to purchase a golf skort that reached well below my knees on my 5′ 3″ frame. Yeah, good times.
All this to say, the folks on the inside of that wall can keep their perfectly manicured property and I’ll happily stick to riding my bike on the far side of the canal, taking in the breathtaking view of unkemp bougainvillea, birds and butterflies. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.
I took a gamble this morning in trying to beat the rain for a morning run. I figured I had a 50-50 chance of making it home without being caught in a downpour. There’s a reason I’m not a betting woman. I didn’t make it to the entrance of our development before it began to pour. I could have easily turned around, but I thought, what’s the worst that could happen? I’ll get wet? (Turns out that was a gross understatement.)
While running, I couldn’t help but think of the downpour as a metaphor for life. When you’re stuck in a storm, how great does it feel when you finally reach a safe/dry shelter? My desire to return to dry sanctuary was motivation to run. Fast! But for that brief period of time while I was slogging along, I was on sensory overload. I was overwhelmed by the sweet yet earthy smell of the rain itself. I was aware of the cold, hard rain pelting my skin. As alive as I felt while running, I couldn’t help but focus on getting back to a warm safe place. As much as I loved experiencing these sensations (I felt alive!), I was uncomfortable. And I thought—this is a lot like life!
Sometimes we’re most alive when we’re in the midst of a personal storm. A storm forces us out of our complacency. It makes us face our surroundings and situations head-on. Our days unfold in sharper focus and we tend to feel things much more acutely when life is raining down on us. And when we’re in the midst of a storm, we naturally want nothing more than to get back to safety and security.
I experienced something else too. I increased my pace (9:08 mile!) in order to get home quickly. Isn’t that something else we tend to experience in life’s storms as well? Storms tend to kick us in the butt, sending us into overdrive in an effort to rectify all that’s wrong with our life/world.
Whatever storm you’re facing, keep your head down and keep moving forward. Use the instinctive momentum to carry you forward to safe shelter. Hopefully it’ll be a good bit of time before you’re caught in the rain again, so take time while you’re in the midst of the current storm to feel the rain on your skin and take in your surroundings. Your life will be richer for it.
Rain! whose soft architectural hands have power to cut stones, and chisel to shapes of grandeur the very mountains, as no artist could ever do! ~Henry Ward Beecher, Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit