Everything blurred. I was moving at rocket speed as I zigzagged between other skaters. It felt exhilarating. Once again I was in the skating rink. Everyone paused to look. I spun around and continued skating backwards. I rocked and shifted by weight from one leg to another, in perfect synchronicity to the rhythm of the music…
“Uncle! Are going to skate? Come nuh!”
I smiled. He had almost perfected the Jamaican accent.
“Sure! Of course! Give me a second little boy”
My bravado veiled my fear. I was terrified.
It has been years, decades actually, since I last skated. The skates dongled in mid air from my hands as they patiently waited to find happy feet.
“How can I enter a ring filled with carefree teenagers?”
They have no care about injury or injuring someone else. (As I typed one almost fell on the phone. I helped her balance herself. And without a thank you or backward glance she simply continued to on her way.)
Sudden terror gripped me. I should allow my nephew to just enjoy himself. He seems to be caught up in the euphoria of the moment. He knew how to make the most of any given situation.
Then I heard these words.
“Go skate! Enjoy yourself. Honey, clear your head.” I was recalling my girlfriend’s response to my earlier text message.
I surveyed the rink again and saw that everyone was enjoying themselves.
“When did you become afraid of taking risks. It’s not the first time you have fallen down. You have injured your hand and butt many times while skating. It will not be the first and perhaps not the last. Each time you only got up laughing. Why not now?”
“The teenagers were only focused on the moment. Did mid-life make you ultra conservative?”
I was not conflicted about being here. Nothing about the environment scared me. Yet I was not jumping into the rink with wild abandon.
“Why hold back?”
Without a second thought I pushed…
I wonder how many of us have operated like I did initially? How many of us are living outside of the skating rink?
We never take risk. We play it safe as we try to avoid the bruises and injuries. We live our best life in our imagination.
Life demands that we engage our fears. People who wish for change but do nothing loose their zest for life. They sink deeper and deeper into despair. Some only exist. They do not know how to live.
I could not help admiring the tenacity of a teenager. She was not well coordinated. She fell several times. Each time she got up. I wanted to help her. There were times I thought she may injure herself. Her parents sat on the sidelines and talked with other parents. I observed that they never came to her rescue. She never went to them for help or stopped to engage in self-pity. She shook off each fall with grace and determination.
Sometimes her friend stopped and waited on her. No assistance was offered. She only encouraged her to rest a bit or continue moving. A few minutes later the two of them would skate pass me. Her focus was only on enjoying the moment.
I hope she responds to life in the same manner. Sometimes we suffer misfortune. Sometimes we make mistakes. Whatever bad thing happens it is important we get back up. Do not try to forget the problem. Deal with it! Learn. See yourself succeeding. Keep moving forward.
16 For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity.
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him.