After driving over fourteen hours to North Carolina for a few days, we wanted to take in as much of the natural beauty as we could in our limited time. Day one was great and we played outside all day. But day two brought a rainy day and severe weather (think massive thunder and lightning storms), putting a damper on our plans.
Rainy Day, Go Away
We watched the news and made an educated guess that the thunderstorms wouldn’t hit us until early afternoon. So, we headed out in the morning to hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We figured we’d have time for a 2-3 mile hike and a picnic lunch in the park before the storms hit.
As we were driving to the park we saw some ominous clouds appear on the horizon, but we kept going hoping that we would still have a chance to hike before it started to rain.
No luck. Just as we entered the park a torrential downpour started. We waited in the car for 10 or 15 minutes hoping that it would pass. Again, no luck.
We were about 30 minutes from our campsite, so we decided to drive to some nearby shops and hope the rain would stop.
We looked at overpriced pottery and knickknacks in one store. Then we went to a small museum in town that highlighted local history. After hanging around for about an hour, we decided to drive back to the park again and hope that the rain would end by the time we got there.
Rainy Day, Went Hiking Anyway
Ultimately we decided that we went to North Carolina to experience the Smoky Mountains. The weather wasn’t anywhere near perfect. But we only had that day to hike and we would do it anyway. We weren’t likely to drive fourteen hours to the park again anytime in the near future and we didn’t want to miss out on this experience.
We put on some rain ponchos and headed out on a steep trail towards a waterfall. It thundered in the distance and the rain kept coming down. But we laughed at ourselves in our disposable ponchos and enjoyed every minute of our hike.
We only saw one other crazy family out on the trail. As we passed them, Tim said sarcastically, “Beautiful day for a hike!” The other father responded with a smile and said, “It’s great! No bugs, not too hot, and the trails aren’t crowded at all.”
He was right. It was a good day for a hike after all. We just had to set aside our preconceived expectations and enjoy the day the rainy day as it was.
Scripture encourages us to have this kind of attitude when we encounter unexpected circumstances:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)
It may not always be easy to relinquish expectations and make the best of a rainy day. But remaining positive and hopeful in the face of less-than-desirable circumstances is a spiritual discipline. It benefits your relationships and creates some unexpected memories along the way!