Hello, friends! I decided to take summer seriously this year and celebrate being back in the Midwest, where summer means open windows and weekends at the lake and bonfires with s’mores, of course, because it’s not a real bonfire unless you leave with marshmallow residue in your hair.
And while seriously summering has meant a break from blogging, it hasn’t meant a break from some lessons I’ve learned from #lakelife. Lessons like: Breaks are necessary and lakes are a good place to take them. Coffee tastes better when sipped on the shore. Mornings walks make me a nicer person. Having no cell phone signal or Wifi for a day or two is a good thing. God paints beautiful sunsets.
And one lesson worth elaborating on: The good stuff is worth the fight.
I got up on water skis this summer for the first time in 17 years. It.was.awesome!
It was a sunny morning when I jumped into the chilly in the water, pulled the skis on my feet and felt…awkward. They say some things are like riding a bike and it all comes back to you, but 17 years is a decent amount of time, and I wasn’t so sure. I knew what I needed to do, but as the boat took off and I held on to the rope, my knees felt wobbly and my legs looked like Bambi on ice, each going the opposite direction. Saving myself from the dreaded face plant, I quickly let go of the rope and sunk back into the water. I could have given up, but I wanted to get back up on those skis..darn it…and I was going to fight for it.
The boat circled around, I grabbed the rope and tightened my legs. As the boat accelerated again, I squeezed the rope handle, holding my best in-water chair pose, fighting to see through the wave of water in my face. And then, after what felt like a day, but was really about 15 seconds, I popped up and was cruising along the water.
That’s the funny thing about skiing. That moment. You know the one, where you can’t rush it and you don’t yet know how it’s going to turn out. And you can’t do anything except hang on tight, hold your best chair pose and wait. While sort of trusting the boat. Trusting yourself. Trusting the sport.
Sometimes, in fact, a lot of times, you fight hard and the lake wins and you have to try again. But then sometimes, you are able to put the pieces together and you pop up out of the water and THERE IS NOTHING LIKE IT. The water under your feet, the wind on your face. And all of a sudden, the fight was worth it!
But you can’t get there without the struggle. Without getting some water in your face, doing the work at the beginning, hanging on tight and waiting and trusting the timing and proving how bad you want it.
This is true with the hardest and best things in life, I think. All of the good things, my most treasured moments or memories or experiences have come with a trial or a struggle that’s required me to stand firm, to get some water in my face and forced me to a place of determining just how bad I want it.
The good things, the best things have made me answer questions like, what do I want more? Where does the path of least resistance lead and is that where I want to go? If I’m facing this mountain, is what is at the top worth climbing toward? What am I willing to sacrifice and what is the cost?
Chocolate now or ten pounds later? Quit training now or half marathon under my belt later? Mundane and predictable or exciting adventure? Fighting to maintain “control” or standing firm in faith? Taking a chance on someone or something or always wondering what might have been? Giving up now or sense of accomplishment later?
And sometimes, the water in the face part is scary and blinding and the holding on tight part is tiring and taxing, but just like when it all comes together in skiing, it all comes together in life. Somehow, someway, in perfect time. We have a good, good Father. He’s an excellent boat driver. And while I spent a lot of years trying to be the captain, I’ve surrendered the wheel now. You’ll find me either on the front of the boat, hands in the air, enjoying the ride or hanging on tight, fighting for a thrilling ride from the rope in the back, having the time of my life. Sometimes with water in my face. A lot of time with water in my face, hanging on tight, knowing there is a great run ahead if I just fight for it.
If you’re hanging on, water in the face, fighting for something, hang on, sweet friend. You’ll pop up out of the water soon! And if you’ve been knocked down, grab the rope, not the wheel, and trust your captain. Try again. There is smooth water and a lot of life to be lived on the other side. The good stuff, the best stuff – it’s worth the fight!
I hope you’ve summered this summer, and if you haven’t, there’s still time left. Go enjoy it and come back and tell us all about it!