Sunday, June 13, 2010

Life Lesson

A casual day of relaxation while at the shore was rudely interrupted by the nagging motivation to go bike riding. Understandably, no one shared my regrettable desire except my uncle, who had run 3 miles earlier in the day before going to liturgy, and my soon to be eight year old sister. So as we got the machinery ready I noticed that Daniella (my kindred) had training wheels on her bike that were somehow half on and at the same time half off. They were bent in a strange alignment that allowed her to balance on two wheels if she was able to ride it steadily enough or on three wheels (instead of the expected four wheel stability that training wheels usually provide) if she leaned to either her left of right. So as we started off, I noticed myself unable to focus on my own peddling and was horrified at the sight of this seemingly fragile doll that was teeter-tottering to her left and right, taking my heart along for the ride. Frustrated by my concern for her, I quickly came to the decision that I wasn't going to be able to continue so long as she taunted me with her lack of balance. Contrasting my emotional "roller-coaster," my uncle who has raised two +20 year old kids, one of who undoubted drives his unnecessarily fast car in an equally unnecessary manor, seemed all but worried as he stared the 7 year old monster in the face; he'd been here already. He confidently put his bike down and started to push her! "The faster you go the easier it will be to balance" he said in his calmest of voices. He was motivating her confidence to get her through what I couldn't even bear. I was in genuine disbelief at what was happening: my sister, who I've been waiting for to get older for particularly this reason, so I can share simple things that I've mastered that appear like giant feats to her (like coloring inside the lines and presumably bike riding), was looking for guidance, and I came up empty handed. I wasn't so much disappointing in myself as I was ashamed of how many times I'd sped off with my car or the arrogance I had in myself as I packed up and went away to live on my own in a college dorm and all the while couldn't understand: "The faster you go the easier it will be to balance."
It takes confidence to allow or even push the people you care about into harms way, even though its something you've done with all confidence in the past. Every time I was out late with my car or neglected to call home from school, all the while my parents had been riding next to me holding their tongues, not out of panic or worry for me, but somehow...out of love. Its hard to imagine that if I was put in the situation again that I would react any different then I did today. I often question my maturity level and feel that I am at the peak of my maturity yet immediately reprimand myself with a simple notion of: nobody who is mature or wise actually deems themselves mature. As many times as I've been on the opposite end of the scenarios or seen the same episode played out on tv, its not tangible or even remotely understandable until its my sister on the bike and I can lovingly match her level of courage and push her along.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fast River

How can I stop a flowing river whose current pushes me along? How can I use my strength to stop the water from going over the falls and wreaking havoc beneath the surface? And how can I, without first strengthening myself and taking root beneath the transient silt into the deep rock bed? And even still, I am in need of a branch, one of infinite strength, one I can trust to not break when the rains begin to fall and the water pushes harder against my frail limbs. And yet still, how can I try and stop the river. I cant; all I can do is try and stop those caught in its flow. And together we grab hold of one another digging deeper into what we know to be safe grabbing onto whomever we can however we can. Unless of course, they're just going along for the ride.
"We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— perplexed, but not in despair; " (2 Cor4:8-9)
"For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor4:17)