Fat Lip


As I was rushing around this morning, frustrated about some little thing, I was reminded of something that happened a couple of years ago at the 7th birthday party of one of Paris’ best friends. Skylar had been adament that his party be held at a skate park. This caused no small degree of excitement in our house. In fact, hours before we were to leave, Paris had loaded all his skate gear into the car. I’d like to think he was excited because it was one of his best friends’ birthday, but I knew better; he was excited about going to a real skateboard park.

By the time we got to the park, Paris was hyped up on Skittles and skate park excitement. It took everything to corral him long enough to get helmet, knee, elbow and wrist pads on. Soon the kids were attempting things unthought of when skating in the backyard. Cries of “look at me” and “did you see what I just did” echoed from around the park. Obviously this was the party of the year for these kids!

I soon retired from watching the festivities to enjoy some adult conversation. Over apple juice and chips, I caught up with friends I haven’t seen in a while. It was a great afternoon! Periodically I would glance over to where all the kids were skating, checking to make certain everything was going according to plan. It was…thankfully!

At one point, I noticed Paris walking up the sidewalk towards me, dragging his skateboard with his hand over his mouth. If you know me at all, you know that my heart stopped and I had to fight off momentary panic. Gathering my wits about me, I got up and walked over to see if everything was cool. As I walked up to him, I could see the tears start to well up in his eyes.

I got a bloody lip!

The tears mixed with dirt and formed little trails down his cheeks. Being the fixer that I am, I put my arm around his shoulders and told him to follow me to the bathroom where we would get him cleaned up. Instead, much to my shock and surprise, he shrugged off my arm, walked over to the drinking fountain, washed his mouth out, then grabbed his skateboard and took off. Pride overtook the concern as I watched a little boy show a peek of the man he will become.

As I watched this scene play out, I was reminded that in the scriptures, we are encouraged to be childlike in our faith. I thought about that for a minute and realized that as children, we seem to be able to shake off our hurts a little bit easier. We have less fear to strike out and try new things. When we fall and bust our lip open, we take less time to heal because we’ve “gotta back out there!” I wonder if that’s what Christ meant when talking about children.

Often it seems that when, as adults, we fall down, we are scared to “get back on the horse.” And yet getting hurt, running into obstacles, falling down, are all part of living. I heard an author say recently that “pain is a window to change.” Do we stay down, wallowing in our pain, or, are we like the kids in our lives; like Paris: shrugging off the concern, stopping long enough to allow a picture, then putting the helmet back on and headin’ back to the action.

I have a sneaking feeling that this will not be the last blood that we’ll see when it comes to Paris and skateboarding. In fact, I rather envision a few broken limbs as well. But, I’m finding out that the desire to skate is more important than the possible cuts, bruises or breaks.

When I was much younger and skateboarding was still very underground, I had the priviledge of meeting a young skater kid who was scrawny with bruises and scrapes. His name was Tony…Tony Hawk. I watched him wipe out a couple of times and didn’t think much more of him. Today, Tony is a very successful pro-skateboarder with a beautiful home and lovely family. He’s in demand as a product spokesperson, has his own video game, just to name a few of the ventures he’s got going on. When I look at him today, I think back to that kid at the skate park under the Burnside Bridge in Portland. He didn’t allow the falls, cuts, or fat lips keep him from his dream.

In the scriptures we are encouraged to not give up when things get rough. In fact, we are told not to get tired of doing good, because at the right time it will pay off. Life will throw us fat lips! We’ll screw up! But I am reminded that in spite of all the bad stuff that will come, eventually if we keep on doing it, we’ll see a payoff! Maybe it’s time to quit sulking over the crap that we will face! Maybe it’s time to shrug off the comforting shoulder, wash off the blood and head back out!

Don’t get tired of doing good…


Categories: Children, Discouragement, Growth, Life, Paris | Leave a comment

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