TITLE: Gymnastics Jitters and Joy
By janet rubin
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Chloe joined the train of little gymnasts, heading into the gym. The engine leading them was a woman who had introduced herself as Coach Kim. She organized the group into a circle, where they sat on mats to stretch. Wearing multi-colored, sparkly leotards, the girls resembled a circular constellation on the dark floor.
I watched through an observation window, praying Chloe would have fun.
Now Coach Kim had them sitting straddled, noses pressed to the floor like bloodhounds. Kim laid her face sideways on the floor, closed her eyes and pretended to snore, this eliciting enthusiastic giggles.
My eyes stayed on Chloe, who seemed smaller than usual beneath the high ceiling. She mimicked Coach Kim’s movements, a grin on her face.
After stretching, the girls took turns swinging on a bar, and then moved on to the springboard. One by one, the girls ran and jumped onto the springboard, which sent them flying like Pop tarts from toasters. After landing with a flop, Chloe ran, laughing, to the back of the line for another turn. My heart swelled, seeing her enjoyment.
Next, Coach Kim pulled out some thick mats.
“Who already knows how to do a forward roll?” she inquired.
Several future Olympians, rushed forward and demonstrated perfect tumbles. I saw a cloud of anxiety darken Chloe’s features and remembered the concerns she had voiced earlier. “Mommy, what if they want me to do a somersault? I don’t know how.”
“It’s alright,” I had assured. “This is a class for beginners. You will learn how.”
When Chloe’s turn came, she stood frozen, shaking her head. I could see Coach Kim trying to coax her forward. I watched helplessly from behind the glass, trying to offer telepathic encouragement. You can do it! Finally, Chloe took a shaky step forward and let the coach assist her in a tumble. Another turn and the cloud lifted, a smile brightening Chloe’s face again.
Relaxing, I watched the rest of the class. Afterwards, Chloe found me and rushed to tell me about her hour. Words exploded from her mouth like soda from a shaken can.
“Mommy, did you see me? I swung on the bars, jumped on the trampoline, and did a somersault.”
“So you liked it?” I asked.
“Mommy, it was too fun NOT to like it!” she exclaimed. “I was a little scared of doing a somersault, but Coach Kim helped me.”
Chloe continued her narrative all the way home. Of course I had seen the whole class but Chloe loved giving me her first person account and I loved hearing it.
Later, as I sat to pray, I remembered the joy I experienced listening to Chloe talk about her class. I had been struggling in my prayer times. Although I’d always known that I could talk to God about anything, I’d always felt silly “telling Him about my day.” I mean He sees my day. There is nothing I can tell Him that He doesn’t already know.
“When Chloe told me about her class, she wasn’t telling me anything I hadn’t observed.” I pondered. “It was special just because she was sharing herself with me.”
Excitement filled me as I considered the possibility that my sharing could touch my heavenly Father’s heart, the way Chloe’s had touched mine. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. God didn’t need me to “inform” Him about my life; He just wanted me to share it with Him.
“O.K. Lord here goes… It was so fun to bring Chloe to gymnastics today. I was a little nervous for her at first…”
Psalm 62:8 “Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us.” (NKJV)
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