Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The great unknown where feet may fail.

Good morning,
I pray the day has found you well.

Tim used to take me water-skiing a lot.

I eventually learned to water ski with one ski. I should rephrase this; I eventually learned to stay on top of the water for more than fifteen seconds on one ski, that is more accurate.

Tim however, could do many amazing things.

One of the coolest things Tim did was have the boat bring him in close to shore and then let go of the rope. He would glide over the top of the water with the greatest of ease. When he got to the shore, he would simple step out of the ski and stand on the beach.

I wanted to do this so bad it hurt, because it was so cool.

One day, a whole crowd of us was at Bonnie Dam. When I say a whole crowd, I mean a lot of us. When I say a lot of us there must have been at least ten or twelve. You might not think that ten or twelve teenagers is a lot of people but going up in northwest Kansas, more specifically Cheyenne County, Kansas ten or twelve teens is a lot.

Cheyenne County is located in the Norwest corner of Kansas. It covers roughly 1,022 square miles; back when I lived in Cheyenne County there were roughly 5,000 people that lived in the county. The little town that I grew up in, St. Francis had a population of roughly 1,800 people. This meant that while there were roughly 5,000 people in the county, 1,800 of them lived in town; leaving roughly 3,000 people to occupy the rest of the county. I will check my math later, but I think this only leaves around three people per square mile.

Anytime you had ten or twelve people in any one location, it was a crowd.

In this crowd, there was a bunch of girls. When I say, “A bunch of girls” I mean there were like four, or maybe even five girls in the crowd.

You might not think that four or even maybe five girls are a bunch of girls. If that is what you think, you obviously did not grow up in northwest Kansas.

Tim was busy showing off his water skiing prowess to the crowd on the shore. When he finished he let go of the rope, glided gracefully over the water, ski hitting the sand, Tim stepping gracefully out of the ski, walking up to the crowd of girls saying, “Hey.” Evidently, “Hey” is a pretty cool thing to say once you have just stepped out of a slalom ski because it sure made the girls swoon.

I was busy trying to make a campfire. When you can’t step out of a water-ski onto the beach and make the girls swoon just by saying, “Hey” you make a fire. Bob and I were making a fire. I was glad I had Bob to help me. I never could make a fire but Bob was good at chemistry, I guess that is why he is a doctor now, and had that whole fuel, oxygen, heat thing down pretty good.

I wanted to step out of a water-ski, say, “Hey”, and make the girls swoon too. I wanted to do that so bad that I went up to Tim, who was still standing in front of the crowd of girls smiling his wry smile, and said, “Tim, will you take me water-skiing? Tim said, “Sure” and away we went.

The great unknown where feet may fail.

I took off with only one ski. I managed to stay up as I came out of the water. I even made a couple jumps over the wake, hoping some of the crowd would notice. Tim took me around the lake and then I signaled for him to take me to shore. As we came closer to shore, I could see Tim was yelling something but I could not make it out.

One of the things you do not want to do is let go of the rope too early. There is nothing more embarrassing than gliding to a halt still 20 yards from shore, sinking in the water as your momentum slowed, and then having to swim awkwardly to shore with a ski still attached to your foot.

No, you do not want that to happen.

When I thought I was close enough to the shore to let go, glide gracefully over the water, and step out of the ski on the beach, I let go of the rope.

The great unknown where feet may fail.

At first, everything seemed to be going as planned. I was skimming over the water and I was sure I had enough energy to make to shore. In fact, the thought crossed my mind that I was going pretty fast.

As I got closer to the beach I realized a few things. First, that I was still going way too fast. Second, that I must not have let go of the rope soon enough. Third, things were not going to go as planned.

When I hit the shore I must have still been going about twenty miles an hour; I stepped out of the ski, well maybe it was more like being thrown out of the ski as the ski planted itself rather firmly in the sand. I tried to keep up with my feet, but could not. As my face headed quickly for the sand all I could think of to do was tuck and roll. I did that really well. I tucked and I rolled right through the campfire that Bob and I had just finished building before I went water-skiing.

I had been out skiing just long enough for the fire to take off and grow quite large. It was blazing away when I rolled through it. I came to a stop in front of the crowd of girls, hair smoldering, I through my arms out wide and said, “Ta-Da.”

Nobody swooned.

After Tim parked the boat, he came over to check on me. I asked him what he was trying to tell me. He said that he could see that we were getting to close to the beach and he was yelling for me to let go of the rope.

The great unknown where feet may fail.

As I look back on my youth there are many instances where I tried to over execute. I tried to do things I had no business doing. If I had been more attentive to God, He would have given me the confidence to know that I did not have to water-ski on one ski, and slide into shore to be accepted and loved. Tim had a gift for this and it was cool to watch him do it. If I had been more attentive to God, I would not have had to go to a place where my feet failed. God, in His infinite wisdom, saw this as a teachable moment though. What He taught me was even though I failed at water-skiing onto a beach I had many friends that cared about my wellbeing. People that loved me.

The great unknown where feet may fail.

I went to the great unknown where my feet did fail. What God showed me in this is that not only is He there with me but that it is better to try to fail than to never try at all.

Go into the great unknown.

Give God the opportunity to show you great things.


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