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We’d joked all night about how nerdy it was to attend an adult spelling bee. Never mind that it was for charity, that it was in a hip downtown location, or that I do seriously consider superior spelling skills to be my superpower. It still feels a tiny bit lame to admit that we were spending our Thursday night spelling words like “lieutenant,” “alleged,” and “bouillon.”

That last one, by the way, is now seared into my brain for eternity, as it’s the word that kept me from taking first place.

As we sat gathered around tables and benches, spelling or watching people spell, one by one we noticed what was happening outside. A huge storm was blowing in fast, and we needed to wrap up this thing, charity or not. In what felt like a second, the event switched from leisurely, laughing at our own jokes (about vocabulary…hilarious.) playtime to a desperate attempt to dredge up harder words for the last, lightning rounds of the competition.

[No pun intended, of course. But the storm was in full force by then, with its own thunder and lightning.]

Quickly we finished the competition, took a few pictures and shook a few hands. My friend and brother, who had come to both cheer me on and mock the entire proceedings thoroughly, met me with door prizes and car keys in hand. We turned to stare out the large windows together, them cringing at the downpour and me glaring at the one of them who’d suggested parking a block away and walking.

Ahem.

It didn’t really matter who had the idea to park on the next block – just like it didn’t really matter that I was wearing flip-flops and had left my umbrella in the car. We all had to get home, and the rain wasn’t likely to let up anytime soon. So we convinced someone to let us slip out the back (saving ourselves half a block of rain-walking) and dove into the storm.

Oh. My. Word. I have certainly driven through bad storms and watched them from the safety of my house or office. But never have I attempted to walk through such insane rain! It was madness. To say it was pouring buckets would not be an exaggeration nor a cliché; it would simply be exactly what happened. The wind was blowing and lightning was flashing everywhere and water was rushing over and under my shoes and around my ankles as I pushed forward.

And did I mention the part where we had to walk through an unevenly paved alley between buildings and next to dumpsters to get from that back door to our cars parked a block away? Yeah. That, too. It was crazy.

Finally (or, you know, three minutes later), my friend ran toward his car and my brother and I jumped into mine. We were soaked and shivering – and I could not stop laughing. I mean, it was so ridiculous! I’ve gotten less soaked in an actual shower!

My brother reached for the glove compartment, assuming correctly that I kept napkins in there. I said, “Yeah, yeah, grab some of those napkins! I’m so wet!” So he did – and then handed me one. One napkin.

I was completely soaked, head to toe, down to my underwear if you must know. And he handed me one napkin.

I politely dabbed at my face – and then grabbed a handful of brown Chipotle napkins to soak up the water still running on my arms. But even then, I was still completely wet.

Sometimes you need a bigger towel.
Sometimes a rainstorm is a metaphor for life.
Sometimes you have to resist the urge to quote Taylor Swift.

If you’re curious how those incredibly random thoughts turned into a blog post, please join me at (in)courage today. If you’re facing a storm of your own right now, I am hopeful you’ll find a bit of encouragement there.

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