Sunday, January 20, 2008
My Portrait on Skates
This is not me, and I can't even take credit for the photo, but it captures how I'm feeling. Last night, our youth group from church had their annual ice-skating night at a local rink. I was driving my daughter and some friends and was just going to stay for the evening. I hooked up with another mom and we chatted and watched the kids skate. True to my personality, I couldn't stand to only watch. I went down and joined in for the second hour of the session. I used to skate regularly and loved the feeling of gliding along. In my own impetuous way, I practiced a bit, chatted with my young friends, and got more and more comfortable with the skates. I had some truly lovely moments where I felt that old, smooth, gliding freedom. It was truly fun.
Here is the other side of the coin, though and the part I've been thinking about rather philosophically: In between all those moments of grace and feeling free, I fell at least 5 times in that hour. It might be more than that, because I definitely have more than 5 bruises. I fell spectacularly, either face first or on my bottom, sliding and spinning and getting completely covered in ice. A couple of times the pain from the impact was bad enough that I could feel my blood pressure dropping to the point that I might faint if I didn't sit down. I felt ridiculously embarrassed, I felt mad at myself for going to fast and not being more cautious, I felt silly for being 41 and wanting to skate in the first place, etc., etc. I wished desperately that I could be like others who were being cautious, and careful. They were going slow, but they weren't falling down. In spite of all these things flitting through my head, I kept getting up and going back out on the ice. I seemed unable to just cut my losses, preserve my remaining limbs and be content to watch. I am equal parts chagrined at myself and proud of myself. I never know when to give up, to say uncle, to cut and run. Once I'm in, I'm in. But now, as I nurse two very sore wrists, one of which I'm certain is sprained or even broken, look at plate-sized bruises on my hips and feel my bruised knees get stiff just typing this, I wonder when I'll let go of my stubbornness, my need to constantly prove myself, and my insatiable curiosity. Were those few moments of loveliness worth it? I don't know. The consequences will be with me for a while. Are my pains evidence of positive character traits or negative ones? Am I tenacious and spunky or just a fool? In real life, I make so many stupid mistakes because I can't just sit and watch. Are the mistakes really worth it? I've asked myself these questions for as long as I can remember. Who knows if I'll ever figure out the answers.
Posted by Kellie on Sunday, January 20, 2008