MY SEGWAY RIDE TO HELL

"I can't stop!"

“I can’t stop!”

By Lisa Huddleston

I have at least one other little homily to write down from last week’s vacation, before it completely escapes my mind. It is about the importance of being humble.

On the first full day–our second at The Homestead–the four of us, our New Jersey pals and Chuck and me, decided to take a tour on Segways. Radical. A new experience for each of us. And incredibly nerdy. I chuckle to myself just thinking of it. Jokes about Paul Blart, Mall Cop, abounded, but we were all just a little worried about balancing the odd contraptions. Well, Suzanne was worried. Secretly I imagined that I would have no trouble whatsoever and privately sniggered at her concerns. I flew confidently up the practice hill and back with no difficulty and felt ready to roll. I did ask the instructor to explain one more time how to “lock my arms” in order to stop, but he made it sound like a piece of cake so I discarded any shadow of doubt and followed the group down a slightly sloping path to a paved road where we stopped. Our guide once again asked if we were ready, and I confidently asserted that I was.

Oh boy! He led the way down the steep road, but before I knew it, I had overtaken the guide and left the whole group in my dust. Which might have been just a little cool if I had had any control over my speed at all– but that was nowhere near the truth. With the guide yelling, “Lock your arms!” and Suzanne screaming, “The heels, the heels!” I was totally out of control. Holding on for dear life and shouting over my shoulder, “I can’t stop!” I continued at literal break-neck speed all the while frantically trying to think of a way out of an inevitably painful landing. The guide finally caught up with me and got in front where he showed me how to rock back on my heels and slow that sucker down. I was joyfully relieved and also hysterically laughing at the sight I knew I was. For the rest of the tour my new name was “Speedy,” and it was a source of great amusement for us all. Yet only I knew the embarrassment I felt at not living up to my high and mighty expectations. I was torn between laughing and crying–so I laughed until I cried!

This might just be another funny anecdote in my crazy life, but as usual I think I had some lessons to learn from the experience. First, about my attitude: I thought I had things under control. I bike. I kayak. I hike. A dorky Segway trip would be no trouble. Wrong. And because I had too high an opinion of my ability, I didn’t really worry about the fact that I didn’t understand the whole “locking your arms” thing. Dumb. Next time I have a question, I’m going to get the answer before I start rolling.

Second, passion and intensity are only good things when one is using them in the right direction. No matter how hard I clung to the handles of my Segway, I was eventually going to crash if I did not relax enough to straighten my arms and rock back on my heels. Those directives do not come naturally to me. I can be a strong force to reckon with, and relaxing my grip on anything is difficult to say the least. In this case, it was darn near impossible, because it went against all of my natural instincts. But I had to listen to the cries of those around me, to accept that my way was the wrong way, and change what I was doing–or I was going to crash. Period. Good practice for me in being a little more humble and a lot more teachable.

I feel as though there should be a “third” right about here in this essay, but I think it is better simply to reiterate these first two lessons into one succinct word of truth: Humility. Yep, that pretty much sums it up. Humiliation may not be a lot of fun, but it sure can be profitable … and sometimes it makes for a very funny picture. Oh my.

FILL MY CUP, LET IT OVERFLOW

Fall devotions: full heart and full head.

Fall devotions: full heart and full head.

By Lisa Huddleston

I sit at the kitchen table this morning surrounded by books–a devotional, a Bible, a study for home group (Timothy Keller’s The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness)–and a bunch of used tissues. Fall is truly here and with it have come my seasonal allergies for the various grasses that are blooming to spread their seeds before winter arrives. Because of the setting I just described, my head is full of both burgeoning wisdom and ideas as well as snot. Forgive me if the two become muddled together.

And fullness is the very thing about which I want to write. In our home group gathering last night, we discussed our human need for significance, our desire to fill ourselves with purpose–often at the expense of filling ourselves with God. Even under the guise of religiosity, we seek to be special. What is my calling? What is God’s will for me? What special gifts or talents or works have been prepared especially for me to do? Me, me, me. Self runs from our hearts as the water runs from my rummy eyes. And still, yet, and always–IT IS NOT ABOUT ME.

Jesus got that. He didn’t consider equality with God something to be grasped, but he willingly let go of his elevated and deserved status. Why? For God’s glory. Did it diminish him? No. Did it destroy him? It looked as though it might, but no. It was in letting go of the position he genuinely had a right to hold that he became “the image of the invisible God.” Isn’t that incredible? His self was effaced but then God’s was magnified! And by that self-forgetfulness “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Jesus.” He filled Jesus up with all his fullness! Can you even imagine such satisfaction? No more longing, no more hunger, no more pride or self-elevation required. Jesus let it all go, and God lifted him up.

And, yes, that same fullness is available to us, to you, to me. “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” God in Christ, and Christ in me. If I will let go. If I will pry my grasping fingers from what I think I deserve. Oh to be full like that!

HOT NEWS FLASH

What a great guy!

What a great guy!

By Lisa Huddleston

I guess it had to happen sooner or later, but I really wasn’t adequately prepared for this. Sure, I’ve heard friends complain about it; but, honestly, I thought they were being overly-dramatic. Truthfully, how bad could it be? It’s just a natural season of life after all. I mean it couldn’t be such a big deal–if it even happened to me at all. Well, it’s happening–HOT FLASHES–and it’s a royal pain in the patootie! Fan on, fan off. Blankets on, blankets off. Freshly showered, need another shower. Ugh! And complaining, oh yeah, just ask my husband, family, and friends. What a big baby I am! Oy vey!

Thankfully I know that this too shall pass–if I live long enough. But I hope that this lesson sticks around for a while. You never know what someone else is going through until you walk a mile in his or her moccasins. I tried to remember this truth as we visited with my dad and his wife this week. Dad has Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), and Hazel is doing what she can to care from him in their home. It’s very hard for both of them, and way too easy to walk into their difficult situation and start saying how I would do things if it were mine. Thankfully my constant hot flashes kept my judgment in check and served an ever-present reminder that I had no clue how I would really react in their situation. It kept me humble, and for that I am grateful.

Brief post, but lasting learning. Now will someone, please, get me a glass of ice water and turn up the fan?

P.S. Chuck says to remind you of the second part of that maxim about criticizing someone only after walking a mile in their shoes … “It’s safe then because you’re a mile away, and you have their shoes!” Oh my goodness.