Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Last fall, I survived a torrential deluge. This year, demands and stresses of my everyday life have been a mere trickle by comparison. The thing is: when it comes to driving on rainy roads, a light drizzle can be just as treacherous as a downpour.

It’s easy to forget that.

Remember the safety lesson from driver’s ed? When it starts to rain, all the oils that have settled into the pavement loosen and become on oily film on the road’s surface. The rain will eventually wash it away, but until it does the road can be very slippery.

I think the same thing happens on the road of life. We have oils and greases and other things that settle into the pavement of our lives. They’re just the normal gunk of everyday life. But when it starts to rain, that stuff can come to the surface and create slippery spots. If you’re not paying attention, they can catch you off guard and send you for a wild ride.

How do you deal with it? The same way you do with your car:

  • Have good windshield wipers and leave your lights on: Keep your vision and awareness.

  • Drive slowly so you are prepared for unexpected hazards: I was introduced to a quote recently, “The bad news? Time flies. The good news? I’m in the driver’s seat.” Don’t get swept away. Life intentionally and in control.

  • Keep your tires well maintained for the best possible traction: Yes, you have to pay attention to the road, but you have to pay attention to yourself as well. Never underestimate the power of “me” time. A quiet moment in the morning with your coffee, or in the afternoon reading your favorite blog, or even in the evening just sitting still for a few minutes might be just the thing to help you keep your traction.

  • If you do end up in a skid, stay calm. Steer gently into the skid and stop accelerating, allowing the car to find the road again: There’s a lot of wisdom in those instructrions. “Stop accelerating.” “Steer into the skid.” “Allow the car to find the road.” I’m patient and calm when it comes to my literal car. But I need to remember to be patient with myself. It’s ok to slow down and find the road. Otherwise, a harmless skid could turn into a horrific accident. Or, how many times do I try to steer away from the skid? The answer is not to run away but to face it head on.

Drizzle or downpour, it’s important to remember that rain is a good thing. I don’t want that stuff to be on the road forever (even if it is just everyday gunk). And while the road may become slippery for a bit, it does end up nice and clean and washed of all the built-up gunk. I just need to remember to drive safely through the rain.

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