Monday, March 23, 2015

Learning How to Fall

Yes, it's March, late March at that.  And, yes, a fire is roaring in our living room.  The temperatures dipped into the 30s and freezing rain pelted our windows.  We sought respite indoors and prayed spring would land soon (and stay!).

Collin and I are focused.  We have a singular mission: Collin will master his bike sans training wheels.  We hashed out a strategy that involves a daily practice ride with mom.

On Saturday, the weather warmed and the sunshine glistened.  Collin hopped on his bike and trailed it out onto the sidewalk.  He had an audience for today's practice session: his grandmother.  

I clutched Collin's handlebars and raced along side his bike until I felt like he could maintain his independence.  Then, I let go of the handlebars and watched him glide past me.  Each ride ended up the same: Collin would travel a few feet, loose confidence, steer the bike off course, and then plummet onto the front lawn.

My mother watched this scene unfold a zillion times.  She beamed, like grandmothers do, and tossed out encouraging phrases.  Then, I heard her say, "Collin, you've got to learn how to fall."

At the time, I thought it was odd.  Shouldn't she be referring to him  as the best cyclist since Lance Armstrong?  Why was she talking about teaching him to fall?  Wasn't it a bit negative?

But the truth of the matter is that no one can learn to ride a bike without falling...a lot.  Falling is an inevitable part of learning to ride a bike.     My mother, being wise and experienced in the motherhood department, knew this fact.  Collin needed to learn to fall because he would fall and we really didn't want a string of ER visits in our future.

On Sunday, our pastor said, "Storms don't develop character, they reveal character."  Storms are inevitable, he asserted.  

Storms are like falls, I thought.  Like learning to fall, we needed to learn how to weather storms before they happen.

I was asked this week if I go to church every week.  A man questioned me with a hint of skepticism and confusion about why on earth anyone would include church in their weekly routine.  A bit caught off guard, I fumbled an answer and then walked away discouraged.  I wished my response was more polished and thoughtful.

For many hours after our conversation, I thought about why I go to church.  How should I have responded?  Numerous reasons floated into my head.  I realized one of the big reasons church is part of my weekly diet is that it teaches me how to fall the right way and it helps me know how to weather storms.  It equips me with a Savior who won't let my falls be unrecoverable or the storms sweep me out to sea.     



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