Saturday, September 30, 2006


The street where I lived as a preadolescent was on a downward slope, as was our driveway going out onto the street, and the cement apron behind the house which connected our neighor's garage with ours opposite each other. The whole set-up was very useful for experienced bicyclers and skaters. You could start behind the house doing figure 8's, then zoom down the driveway to the street, gaining speed with every descent. Of course, for a fairly uncoordinated and fearful 7-year-old, there were the blessings of soft grass and bushes, where I typically landed. Those metal strap-on skates needing a key were unforgiving, and my bike a torture test of endurance even trying the figure 8s in the back. I finally just drove right into the bushes to spare hitting the garage door or the cement. Forget trying to ride down the outside driveway. I walked my bike to the sidewalk and started from there. I will never forget getting my shoelaces tangled in the chain of my bike riding down the sidewalk. I literally had to run alongside the bike as fast or faster and hit the grass in the best possible place to avoid having my shoe ripped off and possibly my foot. Either way a painful end was in store for my out-of-control bike and me, and I thought that sidewalk would never end!

Life hands us momentum, and positively or negatively we zoom up and crash down in cycles, physically, mentally and emotionally. The key to winning the downward descents at my old house was learning to harness the energy to help the ride. There was always risk involved, and it took lots of crashing to not fear that momentum, but once you got it, you were flying on wheels and your journey was thrilling, not to mention much faster than riding on level ground. I felt like my seven-year-old self again this week. I got very sick on Sunday and still am not well, but I can at least see improvement daily. But the sickness was a handicap that made me very aware of momentum in my every day routine, which seems lately to be picking up speed as my bike did on that fateful day, and I'm working furiously to keep my shoelaces out of the chain, which is not stopping. I had days that required lots of walking, bending up and down, which is not hard when you are well, but like being on an amusement park ride if you have sinus trouble. Add to that the unknown, surprises, anticipation of events where you stuck your neck out, unexpected problems-by Friday I wound up on the couch again in a coma of mental confusion, eating Oreos and blankly watching a movie way past the time I should have been getting much-needed sleep.

I had to pray for the strength to harness the runaway situations in my life. Too many are happening all at once. An answer and a blessing came watching my youngest daughter today. She had a terrible night before waiting with a friend in the ER until 3 am, and today she was to take her driver's license permit test. She slept in, and I had to leave to run errands. Unfortunately I left with her doctor's physical sheet which she had to have to take the test. My husband freaked out at the realization-we had limited time to get her to the center. She failed the test by one question (a railroad crossing sign!), came home, broke her cd player by accident, spilled coffee on her pants and forgot a close friend's Sweet Sixteen party. She was frustrated, but took a shower, realized she forgot the party, and hurried to get ready to go. The downward slide turned into a rush to wrap a gift and get to a celebration, pushing her along. We drove literally into the woods looking for the location, the most remote VFW site ever built, and zoomed into the parking lot. I stayed to make absolutely sure we found the right place, and my daughter raced out of the car to get into the building. I watched in the rearview as one girl came running out and literally jumped into my daughter's arms, and then a flood of teenage girls rushed her with the most exuberant group hug I have ever witnessed. What could have been a crash became a joyful bash when my daughter and I put the wind of momentum behind our sails.


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