I remember the day I received the call from my daughter Sarah. “Dad…I bought a motorcycle!”
Like every good parent I responded with a lie. “That’s awesome Sarah!” All the while imagining the worst regarding my firstborn, my long anticipated and longed for baby girl. Oh, the concerns are the same whether your baby girl is 10 years old or, well, let’s just say one that has over-extended the age of 30 by some.
To be fair, it wasn’t a total fabrication of excitement for her purchase. Having rode a few motorcycles in my day, I understood the rush of riding, holding on to all that instant power-raw and exposed as you are. I saw pictures of her motorcycle and had a sudden pulse of “bike envy.”
In fact, the longer I let it sink in regarding Sarah and a motorcycle…the more accepting the risk seemed to be. She has looked for a defining niche. That life style that one can sink their teeth into and embrace with every nuance presented. The camaraderie of a club, a movement, the rides with like-minded risk-takers. I was suddenly thrilled for Sarah. I was proud of her for not accepting status quo as a concession prize of mere existence! “That’s right, Sarah Hall…do not settle for the mundane safety of daily life!”
I remember the day I received the call from my daughter Sarah. “Dad, I’m in the hospital. I’ve had a motorcycle accident.” She adds quickly, “Its not life threatening!”
As I’ve sat in her hospital room, I have turned that phrase over in my mind in nearly every meaning context possible. “It’s not life threatening.”
And certainly physically speaking, she will most likely live from the affectual intentions of a shattered tibia bone.
But several things speak to me as I watch a loving and worrisome mother stand guard over her daughter in her season of weakness. Parents do not have the luxury of accepting easily risk-taking decisions by our children. It is not in our parental DNA to do so with any measure of calm. The fear and pain-assimilation exhibited by my daughter’s mom is nothing short of reality in expression. Her heart is now visibly beating outside her chest for all to see…and feel. Dads may indeed mask it with jokes and stupid sentences, but inwardly the breath has left our body.
Life-threatening does not only relate to the potential outcome of life-ending.
Our lives, in these situations, will most likely hold the threat of financial setback. This can be immediate and often include collateral damage. A mother who takes a leave of absence from a much needed income. No insurance covers that. No army could stop her. Parents, step parents, siblings, and friends stepping out and reaching up for resources to assist and prove their care and concern.
Life-threatening in regard to your future plans. This lifestyle may be altered. “Do I continue to ride?” The answer might seem like a no-brainer to Sarah’s mom and dad….but, remember: biking is her passion. It defined her to others, and more importantly: to herself! That may be the real cost of the term “life-threatening!”
I would be surprised, as Sarah is bemoaning her pain and discomfort of having four bolts and a playground jungle-gym attached into her leg, a blood clot, and lungs filled with fluid; if many of these paralyzing thoughts are not also taking her breath away. Sometimes the greatest life threat can be imagining how life may be forever altered. It is the stepping from one season to the next…one unseen and untested…wondering if when the leg heals, will I still have my footing?
Some of us are blessed with very clear “watershed” moments presented to us in undeniable fashion. A chance to prove and test our mettle…to be an example of fortitude and embracing of change without reservation.
If I were to speak to my daughter, my firstborn, the girl who first taught me to be a father…I would say with clarity:
“Sarah…this is a life-threatening injury! It threatens to change everything about you to this point. It is a single moment of hours of reflection. It will be a snap shot of who you have been and who you will become, as you reflect back in a future day.
You have proven your bravery in taking risks that threaten life’s status quo. You have moved to new lands and acquired life standing friends. You have faced down financial ruin more than once and found a way to say, ” not today!” You chose a lifestyle of risk with power and possibilities…it offered confidence and fiber of truth.
Sarah, you only need to trust yourself to make decisions that embolden who you are and who you will be. Yes, you will walk with crutches…but do not need them in your life to be happy, capable, and truly inventive.
This is your watershed moment. Realize it’s unintended pain as an intentional valued friend. A friend who doesn’t speak what you want to hear, but challenges you to step into a new light…one you have not yet conceived as possible.
Sarah…these bolts in your leg are not life-threatening! They are life-altering and symptoms of what it takes to stretch beyond the ordinary. And know this, my daughter, those who love you no matter what you do, will be standing by to cheer you on to greater levels of living! My only fear for you today is that you will allow fear to overtake you. God has written, ” you have not been given a spirit of fear, but of of strength, power, and a sound mind.” Be bold to take the reigns of the rest of your life. Be in this moment for all your worth!”
I Love You,