“What would our lives be like if our days and nights were as immersed in nature as they are in technology?”
The heavy drops cascaded down my face. Exposed to the elements, I could feel my cheeks and nose turning red hot from the cold. My puffy jacket, although keeping me warm, would not be able to defend me much longer from the battering rain. The saturated ground made a song as I stepped and sloshed my way across it.
Rain is a full body experience, reinvigorating us from the outside-in.
Perhaps it’s why I look forward to morning runs when the wind whips around me and the rain pelts me from every side. Instead of trying to escape or compete against nature’s intensity, I enter into it. Stepping out the door, I don’t look back because I know in the water, I’ll return renewed.
It’s also why I adorn my kids with jackets and boots and walk sloppy trails through hill top aboretums or down to rugged coastlines.
We should think twice before we curse a rainy day. Some of our best memories are waiting to be captured when we shove down our insistence to stay dry and comfortable.
My favorite high school track and cross-country workouts were called “puddle runs.” Our coach would drive us to an unpaved trail and give us an hour.
The only goal- don’t come back clean.
Always, at the beginning, there were those who tried to avoid the inevitable by running along the drier edges of the path or making flying leaps across the swampiest parts. Soon enough, even those with the whitest shirts and newest shoes were splattered and laughing with the rest of us.
Rain summons us to surrender joyfully to its persistent pitter-patter song. Resisting it becomes more and more difficult until the untamed part of us rises above our desires for warmth and spotlessness. Then life becomes fun.
We learn to seek the puddles, intentionally stomping as hard as we can to see how much earth we can flick up into our face.
My clothes never recovered from those runs. Stained and speckled brown, immersed in the elements, I came out alive and energized.
Baptized by the rain, I’m washed clean from my unholy yearnings to remain untouched by life’s messiness.
Living in the Netherlands, I have similar memories of me totally drenched on a bike. “Shoot! Pedal faster!” was always my initial thought, which rather quickly gave way to “Oh well! Here we go!”
However, arriving wet to a friend’s house or the coffee shop wasn’t deemed a great accomplishment to the Dutch, it was part of being an enthusiastic participant of life.
Rain, in the Netherlands, was never a hindrance to moving about from place to place. Rain only made you more real, stripped of your cover-up and nice clothes, it had a way of removing us all from our pedestals.
It’s Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and for most of us it seems to speak of hibernation. It signals a time to hunker down indoors under soft blankets with pies and candles. But when I listen to the rain outside I hear another side of the season.
Yes, flowers are on their way to the compost pile, darkness sets in before dinner time, and the ground excitedly receives the rest, but there is more.
Open up to glories of Autumn, hear how it asks you to swing wide the doors and not be afraid of this new chill in the air.
Place yourself on purpose beneath the rain, letting it soak your soul and your socks until you can stand it no more.
Stop protecting yourself from the elements, step into the stormy weather, could this be your salvation?
Immerse yourself in these dreary, damp days. Let your tears mix with the puddles, stay put and receive the gift of rain you didn’t know you needed.