The other day, I was driving through a beautiful stretch of Florida highway. It was a beautiful, scenic route with lots of greenery and I was feeling quite peaceful, working on a new vocal arrangement in my head. I was making good time, trying to get to an appointment, when suddenly I was hit by a random, flash thunderstorm. It came out of nowhere, and brought with it powerful, blinding rain that almost stopped me dead in my tracks. The road was quickly flooded, and my mind went into panic mode.
Now mind you, I am probably the least comfortable - although extremely cautious - driver I know. There have been certain tragedies in my life that have made me hyper aware of my driving and the driving of others around me. But in the midst of this storm, my first mind said to pull over, as I saw many other cars doing, and wait it out.
Lightening tore across the sky. Thunder echoed loudly and shook the earth. As I looked out ahead, I could see tail lights glaring from stop and go drivers, cautiously weighing out their options, just as I was. What ultimately lead me to my decision to keep driving was the fact that the people who had pulled over to the side of the road didn't look any less afraid than I did, so I thought, 'why should I let my fear of the possiblities (sliding, rear-ending, BEING rear-ended) stop me from making to my appointment?'
I drove under an overpass and noticed a group of cars hiding out underneath; there wasn't even room to pull over under there, even if I had wanted to. And although this overpass would have provided me with temporary shelter, it would not help me in the long run, since ultimately I had somewhere to be.
When I came out of the other side of the overpass, I drove about 25 feet more, and it was over.
I don't mean the rain slowed down.
I don't mean the sky still had the same grayish threat of more ominous weather.
I mean the storm was done.
The sun was shining brightly - so brightly, in fact, that I almost couldn't take the glare against the droplets of water left on my windshield by the downpour.
The metephor for my life hit me immediately.
I could have let the storm slow me down or take me off course for a moment. I could have pulled to the side of the road and tried to wait out the storm. I could have hidden underneath the overpass until the storm had cleared. But had I stopped, I never would have known just how close I was to coming through that storm. I was so close that I could have practically reached out and touched it.
The people who had chosen to pull over were still behind me, still stuck in what they thought was the best scenario possible, and still being rained on. The ones under the overpass where protected, but the shelter they taken kept them from seeing the cars just a few feet ahead of them, glowing in the sunlight. They ended up spending far more time in the storm than they had to, all because they were afraid to just keep going.
That day in the rain taught me a lot, about myself and about the trials that life may suddenly throw my way. Storms are a necessary part of life, but it's the decisions that we make in the midst of those storms that determines our fate and whether or not we can take charge of our destiny. A true story that has now become my mantra.
Until next time, keep driving ya'll.