Kirsten stared long and hard at the square piece of wood. All she had to do was focus and break the board. She took time to straighten the board according to her height and then moved back into the center of the judging area. She raised her hand.
“Sir, permission to break with an open palm heel, Sir.” She stood at attention with her white uniform neatly pressed.
“Permission granted. You can proceed.” Kirsten bowed to show respect and then turned to face the board. She held her right arm next to her side, pulled back, moved her arm forward and used her palm to hit the board. You could hear the crisp sound of her uniforms as she made the move. It was the last part of her black belt testing and she really, really wanted to pass.
Her palm hit the board and she heard a thud. It didn’t break. Inside she was disappointed but she still had at least two other opportunities.
Her friend Marcy had already completed her testing and passed. It would be wonderful if they could celebrate together. Kirsten looked at the board again and straightened it. Two students held the square block of wood firmly to that it would not move. She said a prayer that she would be able to break it right in the middle. She returned to the center and asked for permission again.
After bowing to the judges, she started. She briefly closed her eyes to shut out all the sounds and when she opened them, she knew she was ready. In her mind, Kirsten could hear the sound of the board cracking into two pieces. She placed her arm into position and moved the palm of her hand towards the board. The board cracked and split into two pieces. Yes, she had done it! She had passed.
The rest of the students finished their testing and after class was dismissed, Kirsten ran over to Marcy. “I did it! I did it! Did you see me break that board? I can’t believe that we both have our black belts.” The girls jumped excitedly and hugged each other. They had been friends for eight years and did almost everything together.
“Kirstsen, you were so great! You had me worried about breaking the board but you really put all your effort into that last attempt and did it! Can we go someplace special to celebrate?” asked Marcy.
Mom and Dad had been there to watch the testing and they came over to let Kirsten know how proud they were, too.
“Congratulations, Kirsten,” said Mom. “You did such a good job today. Your forms and sparring were fantastic. And you didn’t give up when you couldn’t break that board. I’m so proud of you.”
“That’s my girl,” replied Dad. “You worked so hard and all that practice paid off. That board didn’t have a chance with you. I just knew it would break.”
Kirsten smiled and looked proudly at her Mom and Dad. Both her parents had worked hard in ATA (American Taekwondo Association). Dad had earned his 2nd Degree Black Belt a few months ago and Mom passed her 1st Degree Black Belt in March. She was glad that they had passed but she wanted them to know that she had learned her lessons, too. It had been hard and sometimes she had thought about quitting. Now she was glad that she hadn’t.
Kirsten remembered what Miss Sanders had talked about in Sunday school. Jesus was always by her side and she could ask Him for help. She remembered the picture of Jesus with all the children sitting on his lap while others were sitting at his feet. It always made her feel happy. She was there right now sitting on His lap telling Him all about her day and thanking Him for His help.
Marcy interrupted Kirsten’s thoughts. “Hey, are you ready to go? Do you think we could go to Baskin Robbins for ice cream?”
“That sounds like a great idea. Let’s tell my Mom and Dad that we are ready to go. What kind of ice cream are you planning on getting? I think I will try chocolate with peanut butter chips.”
Mom and Dad had been talking to her instructor and walked over. “Girls, are you ready to go? Is ice cream okay?”
“Marcy and I were just talking about the same thing. Let’s go!”
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