Ask me and I'll tell you, it's Luci's fault. As a popular Christian speaker who has been there, done it all she should have known better. I maintain good standing in the, "Sisterhood of Naïveté." Tell us it can be done, and we take you at your word. While others more discerning would have simply brushed her words aside, I took them to heart. Which is why I have concluded that dares should come with exclusionary clauses.
For a fact, I know that Luci Swindoll neglected to mention common sense. I knew I shouldn't do it, but how does a mother say no to her son, especially when he's begging?
"Oh, Andy, honey, I don't know. I'm not as young as I used to be."
"Pleasssse, Mom! Come watch the fireworks with us."
Pleading blue eyes are my undoing; in a moment of weakness I throw caution to the wind. I'm not the first, you know. Once upon a time Jack did, too. Only he was really into beanstalks, giants, singing harps and gold. Me? I like my feet planted firmly on the ground. It's like my comfort zone - predictable and safe. Nevertheless, Jack left his, and tonight I leave mine. Our memoirs will credit us both with memorable ascents - he into the clouds, and me onto the roof, straight up, fifty-million feet.
I almost relent when son Ben pleads, "Don't do it, Mom. You're gonna die." (I think he has the gift of encouragement.)
Standing at the base of the old, wooden ladder, I experience momentary panic; this is not going to be pretty. I get woozy six inches off the ground. Hubby Rob mistakes my hesitation for pride. "Don't worry about your dignity," he advises in his deep, smooth voice. Dignity?? Who's worried about dignity? We're talking terror here, bonafide terror.
The fireworks are stunning, so they say. I wouldn't know.
When one's life is at stake, one doesn't really care. Hugging the roof with my legs, and clutching at the wooden shakes only intensifies the sing-song, sick-song reverberating in my head, "What goes up must come down." The boys stand to get a better view; Rob sprawls casually on a soft blanket. They ooh, and ahh in celebration of each colourful burst of light. They are totally oblivious to me. So much for sharing the evening, and feeling my pain.
They say time flies when you're having fun. I suppose. I find it flies when you're not having fun, too. All too soon it's over, and one by one my family forsakes me. With confident ease they descend, while I remain frozen in place. It is not a pretty sight.
"It's okay, honey, take your time," Rob encourages. "You can do it."
"No. I can't."
"Yes, you can."
I dangle one foot over the precipice, desperately searching in the darkness for the top rung of the ladder.
"Its best, honey, if you turn around and hold on."
"But, then I can't see where I'm going."
It's quiet, too quiet. I can't quite make out what they are saying, with the exception of two little words - fire department.
"We may not have a choice."
I have enough presence of mind to know that what little self-respect I have left can't be maintained with a bunch of firemen standin' around, chattin' and holdin' a net.
A hurried caucus concludes with a face-saving manoeuvre - get her to the northwest corner where it's closer to the ground and we've got a chance at peaceful resolution. They coax, and I scoot.
"Come on, mom, you can do it . . . That's it, wifey nice and easy . . . Oh, God, please don't let my mother die."
It took awhile, but I did it. In retrospect, I have reached some important conclusions:
Dreams suffocate buried in comfort zones.
I want to do worthwhile things for the kingdom of God, and that means taking risks.
I'll do it for God.
But, when it comes to roofs, I'm sure I took Luci's words out of context. What she meant to say was, "Stop saying NO, and start saying YES to life . . . but only after giving it serious consideration!"
© Ronda Knuth