Skating Away – 6/9/2015

JOURNAL:  Sometimes, we just don’t realize when something is not a good idea.  At the time, in your head, it seems like a great idea…but then when plugged into real life…not so much.  Such a time was my experience last year when I found my daughter’s skateboard calling out to me in the garage.

It is not that I have never ridden a skateboard, because I have.  There are probably DNA samples around various parts of Sylmar, California from my young riding days.  In my defense, in my day, the regular skateboards had clay wheels that would bring the board to a complete and abrupt stop.  I say “the board” because it never brought me to a complete and abrupt stop but rather, it would send me flying head first forward which was only overcome by my body so cruelly and painfully meeting the cement or asphalt pavement (Body, meet Cement...Cement, meet Body).  That is where the majority of the samples came from, although, my friends Keith, Greg and I would leave many more around the whole valley in our bicycling adventures in the years to follow.

Urethane wheels came out when I was a young teenager and the difference in the ride was like going from grape nuts to butter…smooth I tell you…smooth.  And with this great invention, the skateboard did not go through the “stop and toss” routine nearly as often which finally left me time to heal up.  But there was still the occasional spill but that was usually from sheer speed or while trying to learn cool new tricks.

I know there is a term for this but I don’t know what it is called.  It is when you put the weight on the back of the board and lift the front of the board off the ground and place it somewhere else.  I learned to do that well and could consistently turn 90 and 180 degrees without hurting myself too badly, too often.  Occasionally, and sometimes by accident, I could pull off a 360 degree spin and land it but most of the time…not so much.  And this brings me back to my garage in the present on that fateful day.

There I was, not at 13 years old but at a fine specimen of 53 years young.  Sure, sure, I had some wrinkling but nothing that a good ironing couldn’t take care of.  It was me, my daughter’s skateboard and my memories all coming together to make a wonderfully, reminiscent, spectacular memory (W.R.S.M.)…or so I thought.

At first I just stood on my daughter’s skateboard and centered myself.  At my age, this can take anywhere from four and a half to eighteen minutes.  It was a good day and I was on the lower end of the spectrum which boosted my confidence significantly.  Just like riding a bike…hopefully anyway.  Of course, a bicycle does have a seat, pedals, handlebars and brakes but other than that...exactly like riding a bike.

With my centering complete, I thought I would try some of my old tricks from when I was a kid.  First, I tested the board a little, lifting the front off the ground and set it down from side to side.  That went well and I was again encouraged. With the added confidence, I lifted the front off the ground and turned 90 degrees.  Success met me once again as I brought the front of the board down.  As the angles grew, so did my confidence, swagger and pride.  So with that, I thought it was time to go for the 180 which had been mostly successful as a kid.

If I landed this, I was sure my picture would end up on the front of tomorrow’s paper and my youtube video would soon hit the one million hits.  I would probably have to disguise myself to keep from having to sign all the autographs when I went out in public.  What would I wear…what would I wear?  Hmm.

The start of my 180 degree turn I remember very clearly and it started so very, very well.  After that, it was a quick blur accompanied by a loud thump and the next thing I knew, I was flat on my back looking up at the garage ceiling wondering what had just happened.  My confidence, swagger and pride had all been crushed in the fall in just a millisecond or less.  But that was not the worst part.

The worst part was when I fell, somehow on my way down to the garage floor, I shot the board across the garage right into MY WIFE'S unsuspecting knee.  She had been standing back and watching all this madness and making snide remarks (be careful honey...don't hurt yourself...etc) from what she deemed to be a "safe" distance.  Then, in one misguided decision, I took us both down.

I learned a few lessons that day.  I learned that I am not thirteen anymore, (even though my wife would argue that mentally that very well may be true) and just because I could do something as a kid does not “automatically” mean I can do it now, even if my mind says I certainly can.  I learned that gravity is my mortal enemy and will seize any chance it has to smash me hard into the ground.  But most importantly, I learned that if there is enough fear to motivate me…I certainly can still outrun a wounded woman who has been struck in the knee with a skateboard, even when starting from flat on my back.  Nothing in this life is wasted if you learn from it.  I call that all a big win!!!  My wife calls it something else but I don’t think I am allowed to say that here.

Spiritually and journey speaking…I think we can or actually, “we should” outgrow some things that we use to think were fine for us earlier in our walk.  When I was younger, I made so many bad decisions that not only took me down but others around me.  That was what I refer to as being “caught in my ripple” as my choices made big splashes at times.  As I have grown older and wiser with God's gracious and patient help, I find I do that less and less and that makes me smile because I can see that I am making progress.  And as I look back over my walk, run, drag, jog and sprint with God, I see that, over time, He has surely grown me.  I am happy about that but with that growth, some things, actually…”many, many things” had to be left behind.

As I have skated with God through the years, more and more of “ME”, my DNA, has had to be scraped off along the life lesson pavement (L.L.P.) and more of HIM had to be taken on in its place.  It was and is the only way to make the journey successful because without God and all He does for me, the change would just not be possible.

I know that I have not arrived by any means, as He will be changing me up till the time I cross over into His presence.  But I am encouraged when I look back over my life and see all that He has accomplished.

Each of us is on our own specific journey with God.  He is here with us and He is challenging us to grow up in Him, to become people that we are not currently.  Growing up in Him will make us different than we use to be.  To grow, we must be willing to leave behind pieces of who we are now to become more like who God made us to be and knows we truly are.  But all the change is for our best.  Growing up can and probably will always be hard but it is where we want to be, even if we don’t know it right now.  Anywhere God takes us with Him is exactly where we want to be.  What do you say?

Daddy, please grow me, mature me and enlighten me.  Show me things that I need to know and lead me away from things I don’t need to know.  Open my eyes to all that You have for me and close my eyes to all that the enemy attempts to use to distract me away from You.  Help me not to waste this precious thing called “life” that You have given to me. 


David L. Wood 6/9/2015 © All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the writer, David L. Wood.

1 Corinthians 13:11-12 (NIV)
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

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