Saturday, January 19, 2013

Think Again.

I remember when I could do a backhand spring.

Tumbling Tides.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
8th grade.
Ribbon in hair.

And now just the thought of doing such a thing makes my wrists throb, my lower back ache, and my head spin. But REAL LIFE yall. I could do me a backhand spring. In fact, I could do several if I had the momentum for it.

I loved that feeling.

Upside Down.
Arms straight as arrows.
Back fully extended forming the perfect St. Louis Arch.
Feet in mid-air.
Body bent like rubber.
Speed building.
Wind in my ears.
Every joint in perfect unison coming together forming
Choir of Movement.

Yes. Backhand spring at its finest everyone.

My teacher Chris told me I was a fast learner. “You’ll have your standing back tuck in no time,” he affirmed. But just a month later, something began to happen, something peculiar. You might have heard of it…


That’s right, little 8th grade me got scared. I started to second-guess myself about everything. And I mean everything.


How much do I bend my knees before I jump?
What do I do with my hands?
What am I supposed to look at?
How long should I be in the air?

I know, ridiculous right? Here I was, well on my way to the Promise Land of Tumbling Champions and then it hit me like an unexpected snowball to the face. It’s as if my bones and muscles went on strike refusing to do anything the least bit productive.

And if I did try to do a back handspring, the worst of all worses would happen. Well, I would make it over, at least. But my once frame-it-on-the-wall, back-fully-extended arch became an unbearable mess of undercut. Undercut. That was my new word. This meant that mid-air I second-guessed myself and cut under so much that my hands would bend back to where my feet had just been, hardly making an arch at all.

And come to think of it, I second-guessed myself in horseback riding too when it came to jumping my horse. I went through a miserable, not so fun phase where I would psyche myself out and lean forward too much too early, causing me to mess up my balance and I would in turn, mess up my horse’s steps.

Hmm… I’m beginning to see a trend in my used-to-be hobbies.

And if I let these memories really sink in to the depths of me, I am drawn to a truth that stretches much further than a backhand spring catastrophe or a hunter jumper paranoia. I am drawn to a reality that reaches far beyond this awkward, self-conscious 8th grade or even elementary version of myself.

How often I over-think the most beautiful of things, the things that aren’t meant to be fully understood nor fully analyzed. Believe it or not, some things, many things, are not meant to be drained out like a sponge, becoming so dry that all its original shape is forever lost and forgotten.

What would it be like for me to take part in a process in which for once, my mind is at rest… a process where I freely yet consciously submit to my senses. A process where I let the healthy emotions settle in, learning how to feel with my being instead of thinking and over-thinking and then thinking again. I am learning more and more that what often seems like a crucial necessity can just as often be a hindrance.

A hindrance to beauty.
A hindrance to raw experience.
A hindrance to life.

As human beings, we have a unique power to very easily paralyze our greatest strengths by over-thinking and therefore producing doubt and fear. And in this act, we become smaller.

Please note: We are not made for such small things as doubt and fear. We are made for participating in a world so divine and glorious that we as humans cannot help but stand in awe of its God-ordained details. We are made for participating in a world of risk-taking, grace-giving love, a world of creation simply in awe of its Creator.

I don’t know about you but that’s the kind of world I want to live in.

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