Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just Like Riding a Bike

Big milestone around here this week. I know you'll all be jealous. We got a new storm door.

I don't know who's happier about this, us or our friends. You see, for about the past 8 years we've had trouble with that storm door and, being the completely unhandy losers technically challenged people that we are, we fixed it in the only way we knew how.

Duct tape.

Yes, for years now our front door has been duct taped (is that a verb?). And for years our friends have teased us about it, with good reason. Humiliating and embarrassing--yes--and yet we didn't do a thing about it. "Frozen with fear" I think would be the correct emotion.

On Monday our new storm door was installed, bringing with it much hoopla and shouts of joy. From me. Nobody else really noticed because it pretty much looks exactly like the old storm door.

Minus the duct tape.

The new door was about 1/2 inch narrower than the old door, though, because there was a small bit of wood showing on each side of the door. Time to paint.

So yesterday afternoon I got out the Spackle (Dad would be proud) and the paint, and I made everything around our front door look as good as new.

While I was happily painting, I overheard a fun little exchange across the street. The woman who lives there was trying to teach her young son how to ride a two-wheeler. Now, any parent who has tried to teach their child how to ride a bike knows that this is no easy task.

"Mom, I can't do it!" the boy hollered.

"Yes you can, Johnny. Just keep trying. You need to pedal faster."

"I can't dooooo it!" shouted the boy again, this time a little more whiny than the first time.

"Yes you can, Johnny. I know you can," said his mom.

"I. CAN'T. DO. IT!"

"Yes. You. Can. Now pedal!" At this point the mother was just about to lose it. She started to yell at her son, no paragon of patient virtue she.

As I quietly painted my trim I started to smile. I couldn't fault her for losing her patience . . . I did not teach even one of my daughters how to ride a two-wheeler. Neither they nor I would have survived the process. Thank goodness B wanted his share of that parental responsibility.

After only a few short minutes, though, I heard shouts of another kind.

"I'm doing it! I'm doing it!"

"You sure are, Johnny. I knew you could do it." A proud moment for both mother and son, for sure.

Very quickly, Johnny got the hang of the bike-riding thing because pretty soon he was zipping up and down the sidewalk like a pro.

"Now, Johnny," said his mom, "once you get going, brake real hard. There's nothing like the feeling of braking hard when you've been riding real fast." I could just hear the encouragement in her voice. And the pride.

Her Johnny had done it!

Now, I'm not one to spiritualize everything, but I do like to look around me and see where God is putting His fingerprints. And they were all over that situation for me. See, sometimes I feel like Johnny as I look at what I think God wants me to do. My overwhelming frustration takes over, and I say to Him, "I can't do that."

I may even whine a little.

But God just looks as me patiently and says, "Yes you can. I know you can." His words of encouragement keep coming until I suddenly look up and say, "Hey, I'm doing it!"

And God just smiles and says, "I knew you could."


  1. Shelly,

    You are right! I needed your words today! Thank you, dear friend!


  2. A great post, yet again. When is your book coming out????!!!!

  3. OK, I hope I'm not missing the big picture of your post, but this is how I felt at the local sport club (you know where I mean) this week, new member that I am. I wanted to run home after my brief orientation and beg B. (who gave me this for our anniversary) to find out if there's a money back guarantee. "I can't do it!" I appeared to be a complete idiot, not that I care, but I was dressed so inadequately, 30 seconds on the stairmaster had me breathless, I tried to joyfully greet a friend I saw who, with her earphones on, quickly sidestepped me (Oh, I get it, I can't interrupt someone's workout), and then I drove the wrong direction in the parking lot. Maybe i need to blog about this! But I did tell myself, "don't give up!" Who knows, maybe I'll become an exercise nut and soon enough fit in with the rest of our sleek community there. Is this even coherent? I should be sleeping! Just checking in! Love your posts!

  4. Oh Carolyn, I can TOTALLY relate to that! That's why I work out at the college--I can wear my cruddy workout clothes and I barely ever see anyone I know. Hopefully you'll get the hang of it soon and you'll feel right at home there. I know there are LOTS of great people who work out there who would love to chat with you! :)