Sunday, August 2, 2009

Gentle Lessons

"What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner."

"If we are willing to learn our lessons gently, they patiently await us in countless ways. Today, try listening to the wisdom of children; accepting the loving kindness of a friend; reaching out to those in need; asking a colleague for advice; acting on your intuition; laughing at your foibles and frailities and accepting them with love; observing how your pets live so contentedly in the present moment; rediscovering the surprising healing power of spontaniety; focusing on the good in any situation you are now encountering; expecting the best of everyday; and realizing what a wonderful life you're living - sooner rather than later.
"Of course, the unexpected often catches us by surprise. But if we are open to and grateful for gentle lessons, new teachers will appear in our path."
--A Simple Abundance

On my way to church this morning a bi-plane flew over my car and I smiled. Ten years ago, I was starting my first full-time youth ministry job at a church in small-town Wisconsin. It was a warm summer morning, and I was far enough from friends and family to feel a little isolated on such a beautiful day. But, many of the members of my new church were going to the nearby county airport for a pancake breakfast and to see the old planes that fly in once a year on their way to the Oshkosh Air Show. So I hitched a ride with one of the older couples - determined to have a fun morning and a free, yummy, breakfast!

After breakfast I was chatting with the mom of one of my youth group kids, when she said, "You should go up for a ride!" I knew the boy scouts were getting free rides from the "safer-looking" planes... But if I was going up, I REALLY wanted to go in the open-air bi-plane! Before I knew it, Gena had snuck over, talked to the pilot, and had convinced him that I needed a little adventure that day.

I got to have the ride of my life! He took me up, flew me all over the county letting me point out all the landmarks I knew, then he started the stunts! We got to go upside down, roll over, go really fast, and... he flew as high as he could, cut the engine, and we got to experience a spinning nose dive until he pulled us out of it and we rose really fast and high again! It was awesome!

I couldn't thank him enough when we were done. It had been one of the most thrilling experiences of my life... I walked on air for a month, at least!

Spontaneous. Risky. Exciting. It made me realize that all it took was asking. Up until that point I had always been too shy to think someone would do something like that for me. But my friend, Gena, wouldn't let me sit back and miss this experience - and I thank her for that!

Lessons learned: Have fun. Try new things. Be spontaneous. Speak Up. Ask. Trust a friend. Take risks once in awhile. Get out of the house! Ha ha ha. Everytime I see an old bi-plane, I think of that day. And I smile.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Good memories.
2. Adventure.
3. Risk-taking.
4. We had a wonderful musician perform at church today - he had a beautiful voice! Thanks, Peter!
5. Spouses that get nervous for their partners.
6. Easy set-up for Vacation Bible School.
7. Pool time. (I even fell asleep. Wonderful!)
8. A yummy dinner - salmon and green beans.
9. Friendships.
10. Talking to my sister on the phone yesterday.
11. Oh! I almost forgot! The best thing that happened today - I was asked to officate a wedding of one of the former youth group kids at my current church... Unfortunately, I had to say no. Alas, I am not ordained... But what a nice thing to be asked!

1 comment:

Beth said...

What a great story and memory! I won a free small airplane ride when I was about 11 or 12... I won it by bringing the most kids to VBS! I have to admit I was scared to death...but loved every minute of it!

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