Last week, just before Christmas Eve, I had a minor mishap that colored my whole holiday.
It was my first day off from work for the holiday break. I had been enjoying a leisurely cup of coffee and reading a novel on my Kindle. I got up to refill my cup and while carrying both the empty cup, one of my Christmas collection, and the Kindle, I stumbled against a hassock beside my easy chair and was thrown off-balance. In my attempts to regain my footing I managed to build up quite a bit of momentum before pitching myself across the room and landing hard on my shoulder under the dining room window. The cup was broken and I thought for a moment that my shoulder was, too. My e-reader had gone blank from the shock, as well.
Eventually, I realized that none of my injuries was serious. Although the cup was a loss and I had bumps, bruises, a sprained shoulder and possibly a cracked rib, the e-reader rebooted itself, none the worse for the incident.
Throughout this past week as I’ve struggled through my holiday traditions one-handed I’ve had lots of time to think about the incident.
My first misstep happened in the living room, on a nice soft carpet. My crash landing occurred ten feet away on the hard, laminate floor in the dining room. When I began to lose my balance I was barely moving, but by the time I had gone through my attempts to prevent the inevitable I was propelling myself with force and performed a disastrous half-somersault.
Why on earth had I not simply let myself fall to the soft floor at my feet? After pondering that question I am forced to admit that two things inspired my ill-fated acrobatics: pride, I didn’t want to “look foolish”; and materialism…I was trying to save my “stuff”, the cup and the Kindle.
I wonder how often in the past I have done something similar. When minor stumbling blocks have appeared in my path have my attempts to save my dignity or my possessions made everything much worse? Looking back I could see where that might have been the case.
We can make that same mistake in our women’s ministries. When we see changes or challenges that might cause an affront to our image or a loss of some sort, do we take time to assess what the consequences might be if we simply accept the changes ahead, swallow our pride and seek new ways of responding to the challenges? Or do we try to throw programming and ineffectual gimmicks at the problem, resulting in discouragement and frustration?
Because I was unwilling to let go of my vanity and the things I held tightly in my hands I am still feeling the pain.
This new year is an opportunity to let go of concerns for image and material possessions and become more accepting of the bumps God allows in the path ahead. Sometimes those bumps aren’t meant as stumbling blocks, but rather as detour signs to send us in a new direction.