I recently spent a couple days backpacking in the mountains, and something that’s always in the back of my mind every time I decide to do this is, “what if I get stormed on?” This particular time, it’s getting late in the day, I am almost to the spot that I want to set up camp at, and I can see storm clouds are starting to roll in. It starts to drizzle a little bit before I get to where I’m hoping to camp and I start to get nervous. By the time I get to my spot, the clouds are thick. I start to weigh my options of what I should do. Should I just start walking back to my car? I am probably about 7 miles away. Can I wait this out? I had just read the day before how John Muir would often go outside during storms because he felt more safe outside in the rain rather than being under a roof, and he enjoyed the effect storms had on the trees. So with the inspiration of John Muir, I decided to just wait it out. So I put my jacket on, made sure all the zippers on my backpack were zipped tight, put my pack under a small pine tree, hoping the pine branches would give it a little extra shelter, and I waited. The winds picked up, and I can feel the storm is about to start. The rain begins to fall, and I am thinking, “ok, here it goes.” It lasts for about 15 or 20 minutes, the rain stops, the winds calm, the clouds start to dissipate, I begin to see the sky, and it’s over. The funny part about all this is, at its worst, it was nothing more than a heavy sprinkle. After all that fear and anxiety, I think to myself, “wow, that was it? I can’t believe I almost started walking back to my car for a drizzle.”
It occurred to me in that moment how often we do this in life. We get ourselves all worked up over some dreadful thing we think is coming. We start feeling like, “buckle up everybody, it’s about to get really bad.” Then it comes, it passes, and at its worst, it was nothing more than a drizzle. All our fears and anxieties almost never pan out the way we see them going in our heads do they?
The thing about storms is… they pass. And more often than not, they’re not as bad as we think they are going to be.