On a snowy Saturday in April, my running partners and I nearly quit our run before we started. We could see the slick of ice just below the layer of snow, and even walking across the icy paths seemed dangerous.
Better to go home and try later than to risk injury, we reasoned. Shivering from the cold, I pictured driving home through the snowy streets, hot steaming coffee, and a place in front of the fire.
That image tempted me, but my friends offered a challenge to try a loop through the woods, then decide. Since running is what I do on Saturdays, I agreed.
Within moments, we all soaked in the beauty of the day. Several inches of snow lined the gravel path. Heavy snow weighed down tree branches, blocking our way in several places. As we started off, we ran a much slower pace than usual, ducking some branches, climbing over others, pushing aside some limbs to make our way through the woods. We encountered only a few people. Instead, we had the day to ourselves. Four friends, trudging through a snowy morning, discovering the snow’s effects with every stride.
The obstacles — they slowed us down.
The obstacles — they made the way more difficult.
But in the obstacles — breathtaking beauty — beauty we may have missed had we not been forced to slow down.
After our three miles in the woods, my running partners and I emerged to find much of the ice melting away, and we went on to finish our training; I completed 15 miles eventually, and marveled at what I nearly missed by quitting.
I often find metaphors for life in my running, and I found this one at a serendipitous time. A major business obstacle showed up the day after that snowy Saturday run, and in processing that obstacle and its aftermath, the theme of beauty in obstacles has sustained me.
Yes, the obstacles in my business slow me down.
Yes, the obstacles make my way more difficult.
Yes, there is pain.
But there is beauty in every obstacle. There is beauty in hard lessons learned. There is beauty in growth. There is beauty in discovery.
There is beauty in every obstacle.
If the obstacles cause us to quit too soon, we might miss the beauty, so I’m grateful to those who challenge me to keep going.
When you encounter obstacles, look for the beauty.
Thanks to Michelle Colella for the conversation from which this metaphor emerged and the awesome photos of our snowy April run.