Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Adolescence/Teen Years (07/16/09)
TITLE: Life on the Edge
By Wendy LeBolt
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Effortlessly, my teenage daughter slides along across the cold, crisp Colorado powder. She is a thing of beauty even saddled with my old boots fitted to the bindings of rented skis. The swooshing and crunching snow submits without complaint to her subtle shifts of weight. She hums to herself as she glides gracefully in and out of the trees and over every available jump. When the trail widens, she carves faultless S-shaped turns, coming perilously close to the sheer drop off at the edge of the slope.
I can still see her in the mint green snowsuit, just 5 years old, executing these same turns. Even then she was faster and always ahead of me. She would swing wide in her turn, coming nearer and nearer the edge. I would watch helplessly, holding my breath. And, just at the last minute she would turn her skis and re-direct herself down the mountain as elegantly as any seasoned skier. I could breathe again.
Her secret? It never occurred to her to be afraid. She loved going fast. She had uncanny balance and kinesthetic sense. And she had total confidence in her ability to control those skis. It was how she was made.
This capable, daring, carefree child lies at the heart of the teenager I see today. Such is the case with many of her friends. They love dancing, playing, running, skiing, driving. Anything fast and a little bit reckless. Anything that will take them perilously close to the edge. The closer the better. Perhaps it’s the thrill, but I suspect it’s also because that’s the parent-free zone.
We stand back; dutifully, fearfully, helplessly. We are not sure how to bring them back from the edge. We’ve long since lost the courage to venture out there with them. Frozen, we are afraid a sudden move or a faulty word will cause them to slip away or worse, to jump.
What is left but prayer? Can I admit that my teens have driven me to this? I find myself praying that others will intercede because these young ones have long since grown deaf to my pleadings and lectures. I pray that others whose voices still hold sway with their decision-making, will be voices of reason and caution and truth.
And I am ever hopeful. Because I've made sure they know the Lifeline. It is fixed securely around their waists. If they fall, and sooner or later there will be a fall, it will be the thing that saves them.
When that day comes, I will give thanks for that lifeline. As I look down on them dangling there, I imagine it will be tempting to hurl corrections and I-told-you-so’s. After all, old habits are hard to break. But I pray that instead, the Spirit will help me just reel them up and welcome them back. How many times has the Father done the same for me?
Of course to do this, I will have to make my way out onto the ledge. I’m told the view is great from there. Better make sure my line is secure.
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