Thursday, February 17, 2011

To skate or not to skate

"It's just like riding a bike" I assured my daughter as we were lacing up our ice skates. "Don't worry, you'll remember how to do it."

And so we clumped our way onto the ice and as she shakily pushed off  I realized unsteadily that my skates were way too loose. Clump, clump back to the bench. Untie, uncleat, pull the laces tight starting from the bottom, rezigzag through the clips, clump, clump back to the ice.

Then I found that I was absolutely wrong. This was so NOT like riding a bike as I grabbed for the side of the rink. Tentatively I tried stimulate that muscle memory of how skating works and found my muscles were suffering from Alzheimer's! Perhaps it was from the lack of blood flow to my feet as the laces were now a fantastic tourniquet!

Back to the bench, back to the ice to give to all the impression that I was a total novice. As I (so not!) glided around the rink I was incredulous! As a child living in faculty housing of Northland International University, one year it flooded behind the houses and then froze and we were given the amazing gift of a sheet of ice a block long! Every day after school every kid tossed their books, grabbed the skates and stayed out until it was too dark to see. This was the year of Eric Heiden's Olympic victories so we shoveled out a speed skating rink and mimicked his style. There was a big open shoveled rink and an area of streets and "houses" where we'd set up a town. I spent,what seemed to be the entire winter, on skates and here I was now arms flailing. What in the world had happened?

Time had happened.
And fear.

As a teen falling was not a big deal, actually it was part of the process especially while trying some of those speed skating cross overs but now I knew that falling could be disastrous and I was not going to do anything that would send me sprawling across the ice because I knew for sure, without a doubt,  that I would break something. 

And so I tried a little to regain my ability to forward skate, a slow tentative turn and some backward strokes. All around me kids were flying and falling and I continued inching around as the old woman skater I'd become.

Between my ankles, and my fear, and disappointment I soon called it quits, put on my shoes, and pulled out the camera to take video of the kids who were flying and falling and having a good time.  My tall son was even taller on skates when I, shoe clad, stood on the ice and I realized this is where we were headed. He to grow and me to shrinkage if I let my fears dictate how I live my life and refuse to strap back on those skates.

Physical fear is one thing and, believe me, I wish the  people I love had more of it sometimes as I see some of the stunts they attempt! But emotional fear, fear of failure, of embarrassment, robs us of the ability to attempt and, if we don't attempt, how will we ever accomplish?

If the Bible tells us that we can do all things we can't just run with that part of the verse. We can do through Christ who gives us strength.(Philippians 4:13)
How much strength does Christ have? How capable is He? Is it possible that even when I am ground that is not solid but slick and wearing shoes not with soles but thin blades, that He can keep me upright? I'm all for comfort zones and I've found that as I've stepped back from working and church activities that I am more reluctant to put myself out there as my "muscle memory" becomes more distant but as long as I stay "here" I'll never get to the "there" I want to be. And the longer I stay here the less I desire to get to there and the further away there becomes...

But what does it mean to this cycle of fear and failure and not trying if there was a very capable one who offered to come alongside me on that ice? What if Eric Heiden appeared and  said he'd make sure that I would be okay? Would I then try again? If I was holding onto the arm of a pro would their steadfastness cause me to try again?

It's an easy answer. Of course I'd try again if by my side was an expert...
And if this is true for the ability to skate does it not also hold true for doing life with the God who created and rules the universe at our side?

So the question then remains; Do we put on the skates for ourselves or sit on the sidelines applauding others as they fly by?


chrisd said...

Timely words, Becky.

As I approach or rather embrace a new season of my life, I am being pulled out of areas of service and am waiting to see what God will have me do.

It's tough, but God is still control.

Kathleen said...

This post really spoke to me too. I've had the rug pulled out from under me recently, and I'm still lying there, bruised and battered a bit...but knowing I need to open my heart to hear God's voice, and trusting Him to stand me on my feet and get me moving again.