It’s been a stifling, hot and humid summer in Central Texas. But last weekend, the heat succumbed to a small cold front that brought a breezy sigh of relief.
For my two-going-on-twelve-year-old, Ady, this weather meant one thing –time at the park. Her little round face and the soles of her tennis shoes lit up at the thought of walking down the street to the neighborhood playground. So, we packed up the wagon and our squirming two-month-old, and headed down the road with our slightly overweight dog panting behind us.
The playground is nothing special. It’s probably 30-years-old and desperately needs a paint job, but to Ady it’s a castle just for her. She bound through the dusty pebbles and conquered the stairs she’d been afraid to climb the last time the weather had been tolerable enough to play outside.
But as she made it to the highest point of the structure, she saw something greater to experience–the tunnel slide. With it’s height and lack of speed-regulating curves, the “big slide” was exciting and terrifying all at the same time.
“Go on, baby. You can do it. We’ll catch you,” we chanted from the opening at the end of the slide.
She peered down at us, alternating between smiling and looking like she was going to cry. She tried putting one leg down into the slide’s open mouth. No, too scary. Now, the other leg. No. still too scary. Then her arms and head. Nope. Not going to happen.
We repeated our encouraging words, but each time she attempted to go down the slide, she retreated back to the safety of the wooden platform. She trusted the structure. Even though her parents were telling her everything was going to be okay–she could do it; there was safety at the bottom of the slide–she still couldn’t make herself take the risk.
Each time she made an attempt and pulled herself back to security, she would say, “I trying.” She wanted to take the risk. She knew what she had to do to make it happen, but she was afraid.
Finally, my husband climbed up the playground equipment (in one step I might add – he’s 6’4”) and stood next to her. He picked her up, slid both legs into the open slide and gave her a little nudge. Down she went. Although the first few seconds were terrifying, there was nothing but pure joy and pride at the end of her wild ride.
“I did it, Mommy,” she said with a big smile.
This whole incident might seem ordinary. It seemed that way to me until days later when I was bringing my burdens to God. I was telling him that I was scared, that I knew what I had to do, but the risk seemed too great.
“I know I’m not there yet, Lord, but I’m trying.” There was that phrase again. I realized in that moment that I was looking at my Heavenly father through the tunnel slide. He was telling me that I could do it; that he would catch me. He wasn’t going to let me fall. But, I was clinging to my safe wooden platform.
It’s time for me to take a risk and let my Heavenly father be there to catch me. I just have to have faith that there’s joy and pride at the end of my tunnel.