I don’t know why we dared ourselves to do it, but we did it, for the sake of the dare. The depth of the water was unknown and the backwater-like area was dotted with garbage and old branches. In the center was on old concrete bridge piling; the ice melting around the base of it. Our goal was to get to the isolated piling about 30 feet from the edge, and just hang out on it. It was a recipe for disaster but an adventure we took.
As we crept out on the ice, the cracking we heard and felt only caused a slowing of our progress. We had no plan for what we would do if the ice broke. We just pressed on. It was ridiculous and I pray my children never read this, and if they do I hope they realize how bad of an idea this was. We never fell through and the lesson was not fully learned.
Ten years later, on Lake Valentine late one December evening, I walked the ice, pondering life and love. Twenty yards from shore I heard a crack that I recognized, but again ignored. In a flash my feet fell though and my life flashed before my eyes. Bitter cold sucked the air out of my lungs. To my surprise the water only came up to my belly button. Again, I dodged danger, but this time the lesson was learned and I now have a healthy fear of ice.
How many lessons will I have to learn twice? Or is the better question “How many times will it take to learn the lesson once?” I have paid tuition at the school of hard knocks many times over. A more diligent student would get his degree much quicker. So here I am again, with a great gift of a lesson that I want to learn this one time. Life has given us another chance to get it right. And the tendency is to go right back to where we were. Being too busy. Not treasuring my wife and children enough, etc. It wasn’t bad there but it could be much better. We have a new beginning. What will we do with it?