When I was 15 I rode a Schwinn Stingray bike. The BMX bikes were starting to make an appearance, but the handsome Stingray with the banana seat and the ape hanger handle bars was still stylish and cool. In the presence of 6 of my local guys who hung out together, I placed a 3/4 inch piece of 4X8 plywood on an upturned 55 gallon drum in the gravel alley behind our house. I rode my bike to the end of the alley and began to ride at full speed toward the makeshift ramp. I was pressed hard down into my seat as I hit the ramp, then lifted by the feeling of zero gravity as my bike and I fairly flew through the air. It felt like slow motion as I looked around me at the rooftops on either side of the alley and down upon my admiring friends, earthbound below. Out of the corner of my eye I also noticed the front tire of my trusty Schwinn as it slowly separated from the forks, like the booster stage of a rocket, and began to fall earthward.
I learned several lessons from that spectacular failure. One of course was that I was not Evil Knievel. The other had a great deal to do with Sir Isaac Newton and his writings. There were also lessons about the limitations of the human body. One lesson was later on learned as I sat under a tree with the beautiful brunette that lived two houses down and retold the glory of my break from the surely bonds of earth. Chicks dig that sort of thing. There was also that final lesson when my dad found the black tire prints on his newly purchased piece of plywood. While chicks dig it, dad not so much!
So if failure isn’t really failure then I am truly a success story above all success stories.
I gave my heart to Jesus as a young adult. That was one of the few decisions that worked out for me. Jesus has always been the same Jesus he told me he would be even when I went through the ups and downs of living success and failures. Through it all I have found Jesus in each one of life’s failures. Good things have come from the things I didn’t accomplish. Valuable lessons have been learned in pain. I don’t ride a Stingray any more, but I am still prone to being the human crash test dummy. I can’t help it. Its the way i am wired.
It isn’t unusual that Jesus would pick graduates of the school of hard knocks. I think of several off the top of my head. Peter is one notable alumni of said school. The woman who wept on Jesus’ feet and dried them with her hair. Oh boy, what a colossal failure she had been! Most of Jesus’ crew seemed to be made up of failures who weren’t, except maybe Judas who managed to do so anyway.
I messed up. Pain taught me. Jesus takes it all and changes it around. Presto chango and I have something to contribute. I’ll show you my scars. Got any of your own?