This life was meant to be savored. When opportunities come, in which we can either sit back and play it safe, or jump in and fully experience the joys of this world – I want to be known for the latter. Let me tell you a story.
It was the last day of a weekend away with an amazing group of people. Some have been friends with my wife since elementary school and others were brand new to the group. We rented a house in St. Pete Beach, Florida and all convened upon it for a weekend in the sun, playing, laughing and taking time out of our busy lives to re-connect.
As it goes in Florida, afternoon storms were slowly rolling in and threatening our pool time. Thunder rolled in the distance and we slowly began to congregate in the sun room next to the pool. There was a great, long table there with plenty of room so we sat around it, chatting as the rain began to fall and the wind began to pick up.
And the skies opened wide.
It was pouring. Like, really pouring. The kind that makes you stop and stare for a bit, like looking at a fire or a lava lamp or something. Most of us were transfixed on the rain as a thought occurred to me: We’re all wearing bathing suits.
Without further thought, I caught my wife’s eye and asked if she were up for a frolic. She lit up and said yes and out we ran into the torrential rain. It was a shock of cold water on our backs in the humid Florida air, and I tensed up and screamed like a little girl. After running around like kids for a second or two, we both jumped into the pool, a surge of warmth washing over our bodies.
And then something amazing happened.
Out of a door at the back of the house one friend came running full speed, jumping into the pool. I came up from under the water and another friend appeared next to us. I didn’t even see her enter the pool. And then the sliding glass door of the sun room burst open as about another eight friends came bounding for the pool, rain still pouring down in sheets. A volleyball went up in the air and we tried to keep it up, having trouble seeing because the rain was so heavy.
And there we stayed. A group of about 15 people, aged 30ish, laughing and playing like children, with no place to be but here, in this moment.
The moment finally came to a close when lightning lit up the sky. But no worries, our hearts were already so full. And I’d hear for the next few days from others that this moment was their favorite of the weekend. It was mine too. Which left me pondering: What could I learn from this story to apply to my creative life? Well, turns out there’s plenty.
1. Remember to Be Yourself
When I first asked my wife to play in the rain like a child, I wasn’t fully thinking. In a good way. Had I thought through it, I may had decided I didn’t want to look silly in front of people I didn’t know too well. But I remembered doing this as a kid, and the fun that was had, and decided I could have the same fun, right now, at age 33. Sometimes, when you just be yourself and do the things that make you happiest, it gives others permission to do the same. In a sense, we gave others the permission to look ridiculous, and enjoy the rain.
2. Remember to Seize the Moment
Carpe that freakin’ diem, my friends. We could have just watched the rain and had a pleasant enough time chatting at the table in the sun room. But when would it be storming again without lightning in Florida? It was our last full day there together, so we might as well make the most of it. Maybe not every opportunity you face will be so childish, but sometimes life presents you with chances that have no perceived “benefit”, like more money, more time, more chores done. But experiencing joy is what makes all those other things more enjoyable. Enter into the moment for the joy of it.
3. Remember to Trust Yourself
I wasn’t trying to craft some amazing experience when I headed into the rain. But it happened. People followed and we had an amazing time together. Remember, you have good ideas. Especially the ones that suddenly fly into your brain that you think are silly. Entertain them and trust the instinct, it may have been put there for a very specific reason.
I still smile as I tell this story. It reminds me of moments I’ve read about in Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, where moments are recognized as the grace and gifts of God and thankfulness leads to a richer life. I’m so thankful I got to share this moment with some amazing people and we didn’t let that storm go by without entering into it.
Have you had any moments like this one? Let me know about it in the comments!