I promise I’m not going to share tales from the loo with you every time I write. I promise. I really do. But…
My family and I recently spent a few nights in a hotel. This was a familiar place, a hotel with our preferred chain that we’ve actually stayed in multiple times before. The first morning we were there, I lost my balance a little as I was getting out of the shower. No biggie. No slips, no falls; all was well…just some loose footing on a slippery tub surface. I warned my family about how slippery it was every time one of them took a shower or bath in there after that. Fast forward to day three. Same me, same slightly slippery shower, same soft water that makes you feel like the soap is still on you even though you’ve been rinsing for fifteen minutes. Only this time, I can’t say I maintained an upright position for the entire duration.
I remember thinking…this cannot be happening.
This time, as I turned back around to face the showerhead after rinsing the conditioner off my hair, all assertions of sure-footedness were gone. I knew I was going down. I remember thinking I can’t break a bone. I can’t hit my head. This cannot be happening. I reached and scrambled and slipped for what felt like five minutes though I’m sure it was only a second or two. I felt like an octopus on roller skates. And a blind one, at that. (I have 1400/20 vision without my beloved contacts, which were still in their nightly cleaning case on the bathroom counter. What a person with 20/20 vision can see 1/4 mile away, I have to be 20 feet from to see it the same way.) I had arms and legs going every direction possible and couldn’t get a footing or grasp anything to hold on to and on top of that, everything was literally a blur. In the end, I ended up half out of the shower-tub combo but at least I was conscious. I did a quick assessment. I hadn’t hit my head. I could move everything; nothing was broken. I was kinda slow getting up and could tell I was going to be sore. All things considered, I thought I did pretty good.
By the time I finished my shower, I was ticked. Why did that hotel have such slippery tubs? Why didn’t they have at least some form of grip for footing in those things? Didn’t they know how dangerous that could be? I’m no spring chicken, but I faired pretty well…I was pretty sure someone in the generation up from me wouldn’t have been so lucky. And what was the deal with their water? Seriously, someone needed to check that out. You shouldn’t feel like you need to bathe right after you bathe. Furthermore, why had I felt the need to bring that particular hair conditioner with me this time? That wasn’t my usual stuff. And why didn’t I just put my hair up that morning? I could’ve pony-tailed it and avoided washing my hair altogether. And what was up with getting sore so easily? Surely it had nothing to do with my non-gazellelike reflexes (I’m more the bull-in-a-China-cabinet variety) or my age, right? Ugh. My mental rant went on and on as I finished getting ready that morning.
I eventually cooled down. I didn’t end up complaining to hotel management about what had happened. Especially since it wasn’t the first time (or even the fifth) that my derrière has ever found its way to the ground when it wasn’t supposed to (just picture it: my own baby shower, 8 months pregnant with 2nd child…didn’t bother to look behind me when sitting down…managed to find the only spot missing a chair in a row full of church chairs…uh, yeah, that’s my M.O.). Nor was it the first time (or fifth) time I’ve twisted in a peculiar way and thrown my back out. So I’m sure that I probably would have called the front desk if my injuries had been more severe, but they weren’t. I guessed I would probably need a chiropractic adjustment (and I did) and I didn’t want to haggle with reports and forms for that. I wasn’t interested in the hotel’s money or getting my room cost comped anyway.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has ever felt a blind octopus on roller skates flailing through life.
I’m kinda surprised though at how much I’m identifying spiritually with what happened. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has ever felt a blind octopus on roller skates flailing through life. At times we can be blindsided by abnormal, adverse situations in what once was the fairly routine way of life. Be it relationships we never thought would end the way they did, or the disease that hasn’t healed like we prayed it would. Maybe it’s the career we’ve worked so hard for that is suddenly gone. Even the unexpected death of someone so close, so soon. Life seems like a blur around us, simultaneously in slow motion yet still whirling fast, with nothing to grab onto to stop the crash we sense is coming.
Then it happens. Sometimes we hit hard. Sometimes it takes our breath away. Sometimes we are bruised and disjointed. Sometimes we’re broken. Sometimes we don’t understand why the pain is lasting longer this time that it ever did before and we don’t know if we’re ever going to heal. And when we try to figure out what happened, maybe we realize we bear at least partial responsibility for it, or maybe we have to accept it was just far beyond our control. We may even face the embarrassment of failure…failing to stay standing when we thought we were so steady. Regardless of what happened or why, this much is true…as I heard a minister say once, “The biggest thing you have going for you is that you’re still here.”
So fast forward a few more days, to the 50’s themed roller-skating birthday party of one of Keirsten’s friends. Twenty-some little girls in poodle skirts, ponytails and net scarves proved themselves seriously cute. This was my daughter’s 3rd time ever on roller skates. She personified how I had felt less than one week prior. Her feet and arms were all over the place and she ended up on her derrière quite often. My back wasn’t well enough yet for me to skate with her this time, but thankfully the facility was family friendly and let several of us moms walk the rink in our street shoes to help our kids. My slow, steady pace revealed to me how our Father is patiently walking with us, holding onto us when our life-skates slip right out from under our feet. The circumstances that move and shake us don’t affect Him because His footing is secure. You see, those times when she fell, those times when another child crashed into her, those times she almost ran over someone else, those times her feet went out from under her…I never lost my grip on her hand. And because she never felt me let go, each time she had the courage
Our Father is patiently walking with us, holding onto us when our life-skates slip right out from under our feet.
to get up. By time the festivities ended she had been skating by herself for about 15 minutes!
I want to encourage you today. I don’t mean to oversimplify your situation and your pain, but it is imperative you realize that this is not the end, no matter what crash you just endured. No matter the pain that refuses to let go, no matter that maybe you still haven’t gathered your bearings yet, no matter what failure of your own or someone else’s doing you may be facing, no matter what curveball life has thrown your way, God has not changed His mind about you. He says you are an over-comer because HE is the Over-comer, The Greater One, who lives in you. No matter where you are, where you land, what you can or can’t see, He is your only constant stronghold to rest in, to stand on, and to heal with. And He will not let go of you, no matter where you are in the process. Even if it seems you have nothing to hold on to, His grip on you is strong enough to get you through.
“Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.” Psalms 73:23-26 NLT
Hear the promise in the song DANCE AGAIN by Life Worship UK that has ministered to me lately: “Your tears will dry, your heart will mend. Your scars will heal and you will dance again.” You will dance again, friend. And it will be beautiful. (Listen to the song here: https://youtu.be/ZR_NHCnymzQ and watch the story behind the song here: htntps://youtu.be/1FPUFx3EPw0 … you’ll be glad you did!)