Today I learned what it means to fall. I also learned what it means to get back on your feet. I went snowboarding for the first time. I love trying new things and feeling how just plain bad I can be at things. It’s refreshing. I had heard that the first time snowboarding is rough and you spend most of your time on either your knees or your butt. I had no idea before what that actually meant. Today, I get it--and it hurts. Bad. I can't find a comfortable spot to sit in, and I'm on my fluffy, comfy couch.
However, when I was on the mountain I felt alive. It was exhilarating to be terrified of going to fast or falling too hard. I felt inexplicable pride when I would actually get what my friend was trying to explain to me. I learned how to cut my edges and I was feeling so good about everything. I was getting better at slowing down before I fell so it didn't hurt so horribly. Then something happened, I think I cut my back edge, my board flying up in the air, and I came down hard. I couldn't keep out a yell of pain as I made contact with the ground. I sat there for at least a few minutes, trying to keep my butt elevated, but it was too painful, so I had to roll over and lay there for a few minutes.
Then my determination kicked in and I got back on my feet. Then I fell again. And again. And again. And then I even got stuck in two big divots. I had to crawl out of them. That hurt. However I made it down the mountain, with minimal damage (other than a bit of my pride).
Thinking about this experience has made me think of what it really means to fall. How often is snowboarding a metaphor for life. We start out, we go to fast, we freak out, and then we fall. At first it's brutal, but we get better and the falling isn't quite as rough and we stay on our feet for longer periods of time. We get down the mountain. Then we go back up and do it all over again. But this time we have experience on our side.
I wonder how often we take the advice of the best Teacher. God is always right beside us, telling us how to improve. When we don't listen. We fall. And we fall. And we fall. When we do listen, we learn how to slow down, keep our balance, and stay in control. We learn from our mistakes, improving every time we get back on our feet, rather than becoming frustrated and exasperated.
Life is all about falling and getting back up on your feet. And learning all the way how to be better.