I continue on the run but adjust the distance. I veer to the left and then up into the trails. Running around the golf course, I feel akin to the golf player. Before too long, they and I will be engulfed in the reality surrounding us. The clouds will no longer be able to hold it in and down it will come.
First they are droplets. Covered by the trees, it is not my arms that feel it first, rather my ears take in the sounds. Pitter patter along the ivy that surrounds, the wild plants that roam, the leaves overhead.
Rounding the corner, the trail runs parallel to the interstate in the valley cut-out amidst the park. The cars receive the droplets while the drivers drown out nature’s music with their own choices of soundtrack. Over the secret bridge, I arrive back on the other side and I am closer to home.
The rain droplets grow. In size. In weight. In intensity.
Soon the trees cannot cover me anymore and I emerge from their cover into the drenching rain. My arms are wet and the park has cleared.
It is not what many of us choose for our time – to be outside and feel the rain. Were I not on a run, I would never leave the house simply to feel it. It is not what we choose. The protection of shelter is too powerful and logical. Why would one venture out into the unknown? It is in the venturing out that we put ourselves vulnerable and open ourselves to being affected by the other.
I find my legs moving faster as my inner strength is called forth to carry me home. And yet, time slows. I actually feel the rain. I hear my surrounding. I smell the storm. I see my next footsteps. I taste the sweat and droplets mixed together. I feel alive within the mysterious messy world.
By the time I am home, I know it to be true – I did not set out for the rain, but I am so glad it found me.
I pause and give thanks for all the things I do not set out for, but redeem me nonetheless.
I say yes, again, to God’s invitation to abandon all attempts to protect my life. For in so doing, I find myself able again to trust the One who never promises a life devoid of pain but a life that, even within the unexpected, is full of meaning, redemption, and a full embrace from the Creator.