Monday, February 1, 2010

Lessons From An Accumulation of Snowflakes

I thought we were only going skiing. I thought we were just celebrating our 10 year anniversary.

But as usual, God wanted to teach me a lesson, or rather remind me of an old lesson.




Pride comes before a fall.

Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.  Better to be of humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.  Proverbs 16:18.19


10 years ago I began skiing.  By the end of my last ski season (7 years ago), I was feeling pretty cocky.  Having seen several Warren Miller films and mastered the look, lingo, and walk of a girl in ski boots, I felt like pretty hot stuff once returning to the land of flat mountains, Indiana. 




I blindly assumed that once these feet, which had aged, housed themselves within my rented snow boots and married a pair of skis, I would be set.  It would all come back like riding a bike. 


Kind of.




Let’s just say that I dropped off of the mountain with a poof like an overburdened snowy tree limb.  I know, hard to believe.  After all, isn’t this whole trip the reason behind my P90X workout routine?

Alas, it is true. I fell.  And I fell for a VERY stupid reason.





I found myself thinking . . . why did I ever come up with this idea?  To go skiing?  For our anniversary?  What are you, crazy, Jodi? 

Yes.  Crazy in love with my boyfriend husband. 

10 years ago, I made a choice to love two things: backpacking and skiing. I have always been a bit . . . timid . . . perhaps fearful is a better word. 




I didn’t want to be left behind.  I wanted memories.  To get memories, you have to do something.  You have to move. I wanted to make memories with the man I married, and the children we would one day have.

As a new bride I loved watching my high school sweetheart enjoy activities that seemed to make God smile at the Hottie’s risk taking.  I have grown to LOVE seeing this strong man become giddy over accomplishing new personal best speeds down a slope.  Or hearing him speak on how he went to the top of a mountain to take a picture for me and met moguls head on.  I learned quickly to cherish the anticipation of pulling into the Breckenridge parking lot many years ago,  listening to the We Are Family song by Newsboys full blast, planning ski trips for our then imaginary children, who now listen to that very song as we begin a family vacation.




Brian knows how to experience adventure and I heart that about him.  It draws me to him.  I am fascinated by his planning, plotting, and execution of outdoor adventure.  I appreciate that he is instilling that in his children. 




To make a long story short, I thought this grand adventure would be easy.  Just hop on the skis and go down the hill.  We had been planning this trip for two years, now was not the time to envision myself on a beach (Lord help me).

But 7 years later posed a different set of circumstances.  I was no longer skiing for myself.  Though my children were not with me, I could see them waiting for me at the bottom of every hill. 




Do you know how difficult it would be to take care of three youngsters if I had a cast on my leg?  What if I got a concussion?

And that is when the fear began to creep in like the cold in a damp mitten.

I became afraid to fall.  Afraid to point my skis downhill.  Even if you have never been skiing before, I am sure that you can put two-and-two together to know that the only way to go down the hill is to . . . go down the hill.  At some point along the way, those rented skis HAVE to go down the hill, even if it is for a few inches. 

I would not make mine budge.  Instead I began whimpering like a puppy.  No joke.  Just ask the Hottie. 

Praise God, Brian only told me to stop crying once or twice and then he effortlessly defied gravity to help me down the 20 feet of mountain that was causing me so much fear. 




But what is true on a mountain, is also true in life.  Little, itty-bitty, tiny-whiny things cause us to fear.  Tiny things render us paralyzed.  It reminds me of a book Mr. Smiley has of an elephant that is afraid of a mouse.  By the end of the story all sorts of beasts that are afraid of each other have climbed up a tree only to have a small rodent staring intently up at all of them from the ground. 

In an effort to NOT sabotage our anniversary ski trip, I acted upon a few things. 
  1. Sometimes . . . thinking seriously dampens an experience.  You simply have to trust.  Just do it.
  2. Forget the warnings of well meaning people.  Live dangerously.
  3. Fear doesn’t change my present physical circumstances.  It stops the process.
  4. Swallow your pride and ASK FOR HELP from someone who knows better than you.

What does this equal? 

I took a ski lesson. 

I should have done that the first day.

Hottie obliged me.  He had been dropping hints ALL ALONG that we should take a lesson.  Thankfully, he didn’t say, “I told you so.”  Instead, he chivalrously offered to stay with me in my “light blue” group, even though he had been pegged as a contender for the “double blue group.” 

But, I being humble (yea right—more like embarrassed) pushed him ever so gently away (NOT) and lovingly encouraged him to go on with the real P90x skiers. 




Asking for help was the best thing I did on our second day of skiing.  For the three hours of lessons (yup, our ski instructor was awesome—he gave us an extra hour because he was having so much fun with us) God took away the intense pain that had resulted in my knee from a fearful fall. 

And I remembered why I had learned to love skiing in the first place. 

I needed a guide.  I needed someone make long tracks in the snow for me to follow.  I needed to emulate someone who knew what was ahead.  I needed to hear that voice behind, beside, and in front of me saying, “Good job, Jodi.  Stand up.  Smile.  Relax.  Follow through in your turn.”  I’ll have to admit that it didn’t hurt that the voice was Australian.

By asking for help, Brian extending grace to me, and Roger (my ski instructor) patiently re-training my bad habits, I found success.  On our last day of skiing, I retraced all of the places with Brian that Roger had taken me.  And I tried my best to follow the previous day’s instruction.




Through any situation in life, whether happy or sad, fearful or angry . . . we need a guide. 

That Guide is God.  And even though my knee still hurts like all get out (especially today), I’m glad that I had that fall to humble me.  God used skiing to remind me to ask for help.  God reminded me of how important it is to be in His Word daily so that my spiritual GPS is ready to follow God’s plan. 

In fact, I’m actually pretty excited to be reading my Bible.  I tackled  it with gusto this morning . . . kind of like how Brian goes down the mountain.




Besides learning a few lessons from some pretty amazing snowflakes, I enjoyed being with my Hottie Hubby.  We were spontaneous, seeing a movie at the spur of the moment . . . eating dinner almost every night around 7:30 pm, sleeping in, and reading for hours at a time (I finished The Count of Monte Cristo, in case you were wondering.)




And reality . . . well, it came back real fast. 

We are already planning our 20 year anniversary trip.



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