Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Lesson from Snowboarding

"they shall fall among those who fall"
Jeremiah 6:15

I'm of two minds about snowboarding.  We attended a snowboarding event in Vancouver, but the weather was miserably wet and cold, so I don't remember much.  It rained and rained, and by the time we got some ponchos to put on, we were soaked.  Plus, the rain prevented us from seeing the snowboarders very well.  Thirdly, because the rain never stopped, we were never able to take any photos, which makes the whole thing hard to recreate in my mind.

But the sport in general both fascinates and puzzles me.  I'm puzzled by the half-pipe, but it's not a criticism.  I think it's just that I don't appreciate the nuances of the different tricks they do.  Everything looks like going up the slope into the air, turning around, maybe touching your board with your hand, and then coming back down.  I give them huge credit for doing something I could never do, but I don't think I quite appreciate it. 

A sport like snowboard cross, however, captivates me.  Fast-paced, slightly chaotic, impressive, and the outcome can change without warning.  They are flying up and down hills, sailing over those small valleys, trying to stay on the inside track and take the lead, all without crashing into one another.

But crash they do.  Frequently.  Sometimes it's just a pole or ski getting tangled in someone else's, other times it's one athlete colliding with another. 

It must be frustrating to have your race impacted by someone else's mistake.  But they almost always seemed resigned to it, congratulating one another, and shrugging at the camera.  They just understand that it happens in their sport.  They are all going for the same target, and sometimes accidents just happen.  It's not fair.  But as every parent says at one time or another, "Life isn't fair." 

Which, let's face it, it isn't.

What's your fight?  In what way are you starting from behind, or disadvantaged, or missing something crucial that someone else has? 

You're not alone.  Did you see the cross-country skier skiing with a broken foot?  Did you see the one whose ski broke in the middle of the race?  Did you see the downhill skier having to compete with a bad cold?  Did you see the speed skater whose father took four days to get to Russia (from Detroit) because of delays due to the winter storms on the East Coast of the US?  How about the bobsledder (bobsleigher?) recovering from bones broken in recent training?

And how about the many, many athletes grieving for loved ones?  So many of them competing in the memory of someone they wish could be there with them, or carrying a photo or small token of that person. 

But what got each of these folks to the Olympics was the strength to come from behind.  To play the hand they had been dealt.  Whining just doesn't get you very far, and it saps your energy along the way.  God has a plan for your life, and it includes obstacles and mountains and collisions. 

Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and grab Him by the hand.  He's got places for you to go, and great things ahead. 

~ "Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
For He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and His holy arm
have gained Him the victory" ~
Psalm 98:1

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