Tuesday I went hiking at Highbanks Metropark, easily one of the most beautiful spots in all of Central Ohio. Except when it rains cats and dogs.
I was about 2 miles into a 4-mile hike when the downpour began. To give you an idea of how wet I got, If God keeps all the rain in a big bucket, he emptied it on Highbanks during my hike. Just for good measure, he also opened a box of thunder and lightning just to scare the crap out of me.
When it started raining, I hid under an umbrella of trees and stayed fairly dry for a few minutes.However, I soon began a rather quick transformation into the most hydrated person in Columbus. I have fallen fully-clothed into a pool and not gotten as wet as I was on Tuesday.
Standing there under my failing tree umbrella, I realized I was avoiding the rain even though I was already drenched. How silly was that? I couldn’t get any wetter, yet I was still hiding from the rain! So I resumed my hike.
As I trudged through puddles, carefully stepping through slippery mud, and looking over my shoulder for the lightning bolt that I was sure was going to electrify my soaked underwear, I couldn’t help thinking how similar this hike was to the year we’ve all been having. The economy has rained on our businesses all year, hasn’t it? We really wanted this year to be productive and profitable, just like I wanted my hike to be enjoyable and rain-free. But that didn’t happen.
So what have we done? We’ve hidden under the trees. We’ve stopped spending, hiring, and having fun. We’ve hunkered down, hoping the rain will stop so we can get back on that productive and profitable path.
We’re soaking wet, yet we’re still hiding from the rain. Because we can’t make the progress we wanted to make, we’re making no progress at all.
Now is the time to step out of the shelter (it’s not really protecting you anyway) and start moving forward again. That’s what I did on my hike. I stepped out into the rain and got back on that path. Did I move as fast as I had planned? Nope. Not even close. I had to be careful where I stepped and I had to walk much slower than I would normally walk. Did I enjoy my hike? Not really, but I quickly discovered that I preferred moving forward to standing still.
One of the most fascinating revelations on my hike was that when I stepped into the rain, I barely noticed a difference. I remember thinking, “Why did I wait under that tree so long?” I also realized that it was just rain, and rain doesn’t kill you.
As if this experience hadn’t already provided me with enough material to write an article, my hike ended with an amazingly happy omen. As I exited the woods at the end of the hike, the rain had stopped and the sun was cutting it’s way through the wet trees. The warmth of the sun immediately began to lift the steamy wetness from the parking lot pavement. And as I drove away a rainbow appeared across the sky — I kid you not. It was a vivid reminder to me that nothing bad lasts forever.
Join me. Step out from under the trees and let’s resume our hike. No, we won’t make record time. Yes, we’ll move more slowly than we’d like. And we’ll have to be a little extra careful where we step. But we’ll be moving foward — a much better alternative to standing still. And, I promise you, the rain won’t kill you.