The Power of the Puddle


Do you have an affinity for puddles? I do depending on the puddle and its placement in my life. In particular, last night I went to dinner with a friend who drives a rather big truck. I got out the truck and my feet missed a massive puddle by inches. Whew! As I walked to the restaurant, I thought to myself how miserable I would have been sitting at dinner with my feet soaking wet enveloped in cotton sock caskets. Thankfully, my pedal power was unhindered by that damp, dark hole of death and I proceeded with dry feet. See what I did there? I know. Lame. 

As a kid, though, puddles were awesome. Jumping high in the air and looking down with sheer determination, I would feel a growing sense of power as my feet destroyed the otherwise tranquil surface of a puddle in the street. I knew I was so strong and powerful to be able to ‘distribute’ water far away with such force. Power? Force? Yeah, right. It’s called gravity. It’s called moving water mere inches. But, as a young kid, those concepts didn’t exist. 

Speaking of gravity, doesn’t life sometimes feel like we’re only moving inches at a time when we are stuck in the mire of circumstances we did not ask for nor want? When we walk down the street barefoot on a hot summer day, our feet feel the heat. Sometimes the pain is too much and we start running fast trying to stay up in the air between each step. And there it is. A puddle. And when our feet hit the puddle, instant relief. What once was so annoying, now was a life saver. The power of the puddle.

In peer recovery service work, we are supporting peers who keep stepping in puddles even  when they don’t want to do so. Oftentimes, they think their lives are wet and stinky. They feel gross, cold, and slimy. And they are very uncomfortable. 

One of the gifts of mutuality, a staple of our work, is a fresh perspective. And puddles bring that fresh perspective. From one angle, a puddle is a pool of water. If it has mud, it’s gross. If it’s clear, it is neutral, much like Switzerland. In a parking lot on the way to dinner, it’s a very bad puddle that is up to no good. On a burning blacktop, it is an oasis to burning feet, a salve of healing. 

You see the power of the puddle is this: it can teach us the truth that things are not always what they seem. And, truth be told, I need to be open to new ways of seeing things. Don’t you? If we embrace that idea and live it out in our personal recovery, it can be a powerful example to those who need some hope and a way out of their current circumstances. 

To recap: Puddles aren’t bad. They just are. They are a part of life that are always going to be around. We get to decide how we see them and what we do in response to them. And that is the essence of recovery: seeing things as they are not as we think they should be and acting accordingly. 

Now. Go jump in a puddle. With socks on. Builds character. No excuses!

Chris Newcomb

Chris Newcomb

VPRSN Coordinator

Chris Newcomb, M.Div., PRS, CPMS, CWF, CSSF is the VPRSN Coordinator on behalf of Mental Health America of Virginia. He holds a Bachelor in Psychology from Radford University and a Master of Divinity from Duke University. In his spare time, he is a singer/songwriter who loves to write new songs, practices Krav Maga, and enjoys time with family and friends.


Join for VPRSN News

Share This