Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stories Like These....

Last weekend, I was in Albuquerque for a wedding….. My girlfriend’s son (who is my daughter’s age by the way) was getting married. Of course, I was feeling quite old as I have watched him grow up since he was a goofy, lanky red-headed 11 year old……

I arrived on Thursday afternoon and the final countdown for the wedding was underway. There were still outfits to buy, presents to wrap, relatives to entertain, and last minute changes to consider.

Of course with that…….their great dane was at the animal hospital (she had gotten bitten by something and had a severe allergic reaction), their oldest son (a groomsman in the wedding) had gotten food poisoning and had to go to the ER, a grandfather fell of the step at the wedding, outfits didn’t fit quite right……and other miscellaneous drama that is too complicated to mention... There were times when I looked over at my friend and admired how much grace and beauty she was showing under all the stress. At one point she looked at me and wondered how she was going to get through the day as crisis after crisis appeared. In a moment of inspiration, I told her, “stories like these make for good memories.”

The second the words fell off my lips, I knew that I was, “onto something.” Perspective…. I love that word…perspective. In the midst of transition, crisis, stress, change, we can decide how the events affect our lives……will they stifle us, make us bitter, cause fear or be seen as an opportunity for the next story to share? Will we cower in fear of the next crisis because we feel like we can’t take ONE MORE THING…or will we play with the hand dealt with grace and joy. Will we add it to the list of “what is wrong with our lives,” or will we learn from our mistakes and move onward.

When I was 12 years old, I lived 4 blocks from our elementary school. My best friend and neighbor, Susan, and I would ride our bikes to the school all summer, play on the playground, learn new bike tricks and generally entertain ourselves for hours. The driveway for the school was a large hill. At 12 years old, the hill grade seemed akin to Pike’s Peak. We would fly down the hill, riding our 10 speed bikes with no hands…no feet…..wind in our hair, laughing…….

On one such ride, I was talking with Susan and laughing - riding no hands and no feet, practicing my steering by leaning one way or the other. I didn’t notice a small ramp placed in the middle of the school drive. My bike hit the ramp and I was launched through the air in slow motion. I landed on the asphalt and skidded for what seemed like miles on my left leg. My wound was atrocious…..I had to walk my bike home and could barely walk. The scars from my wipeout are still visible 28 years later.

This week, while remembering the events that summer, I asked myself, “Did it stop me from riding my bike?”.….No… “Did I get fearful every time I got on my bike?”…..No. “Do I explain to everyone around me while riding my bike that I was a skateboard ramp victim and am working through my fears?” Heck No!!! What did I learn from the accident? I learned to PAY ATTENTION…..to be more aware of my surroundings….to still throw caution to the wind and ride with joy while understanding that there can be dangers ahead.

Our stories shape us, teach us, impact us……..but they are simply that…..stories. Our collection of life stories are what give our lives color….what makes us unique. To latch on to one story and forget the rest is a grave injustice to the beauty of our lives. Embrace the trials, share your successes, laugh, cry…….and when the rain pours down, let it wash over you……while splashing though the puddles in your pink galoshes.


steph said...

so true ... and so well said!

Becky P said...

Thank you, Steph!