Paths and Puddles

The past few months we have experienced considerable rain  on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  I think  Tropical Storm Debby harassed us for more than six straight days!  Debby left us with seven storm-related deaths,  considerable property damage, power outages from  strong winds and  two feet of water.  Days after Debby moved  up the East coast  causing even more damage,  we were left with water that seemed to have no place to go, and days after that, there were still puddles everywhere!

On my early morning walks, I found myself maneuvering around many puddles that appeared in my path.   The puddles interrupted my usual fast pace  and  on some occasions,  forced me to take a detour.   Most often by taking the detour I found  my way again in my  new neighborhood.  Yet on one occasion I seemed completely turned around, “lost” if you will.  Eventually I saw a familiar building and found my way  home.   The puddles were everywhere, slowing my pace and therefore my plan to keep my heart rate up, and interrupting the journey as I had mapped it out.

An old proverb states,

“Every path has its puddle.”

The ancient proverb warns us that inevitably puddles will appear, either slowing us down, or changing our course in some way.  When we are creating a plan for our lives, we do not consider surprise “puddles” along the way, why would we?  We create a plan with specific steps and activities on a time line, fully aware of the end state we are trying to achieve.  Yet rarely do we just get there according to the plan without any alterations or changes along the way.   Puddles in our path challenge us to think beyond the road immediately in front of us.  Sometimes they just delay our journey, and other times they result in the creation of an entirely new plan.

Puddles can be both positive and negative interruptions of our life plan.  On the professional development side, a puddle might be a new boss who sees our potential immediately and wishes to promote us, or a new boss who interrupts our career advancement and promotes another instead. We may get a job offer from an external organization and have to decide between our loyalty to our old company and the opportunity for advancement elsewhere. Or, our organization may suddenly announce that it is closing forever,   a large puddle in our path.

On the personal side, a puddle might be an illness, the death of a family member or close friend, falling in love, a change in ones financial status or the birth of a child.  We are often startled at first glimpse of a puddle in our way,  because we didn’t plan for it and we do not understand fully how deep it is or what lies underneath.

When children approach a puddle on the sidewalk, they splash in it and seem to delight in its unexpected appearance.  They “fool around” in the puddle a while to fully experience it before moving on.  Women with high SUCCESSTROGEN levels prepare for the unexpected puddles and like the children, almost delight in the challenge the puddles present. These women are willing to splash in the puddle before them and figure it out; they are not afraid to get their shoes wet.

In the past I have referred to life’s challenges as brick walls, but I like the idea of puddles better…puddles have more “fun potential”, seem less threatening than facing a brick wall.  It just started to raining.  Oh good…there will likely be a few puddles on the sidewalk this morning!

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