Monday, June 24, 2013

What Tattooed Skateboarders Taught Me

Hello, everyone! I apologize for my very long absence from this blog; life has been more than crazy, but double in epicness! Let me update you real quick on a couple things:

~This past semester, I studied in Austria with my fiance. Amazing! And we got to take little pilgrimage-trips all over Europe. Such a blessed time!

~I've been working part-time at a local deli, and I am so glad to be in the food industry again as a "register girl"! It is such a super epic way to minister to people and show God's love to all sorts of random individuals, and I love it. So much.

~I'm getting married in less than 50 days!!!!!!! For years, I have been praying, agonizing, discerning, trusting, and praying more about my vocation. And in less than 50 days, I will be entering into the next huge step in my vocation: becoming one in Christ with Jacob. For life. And that is awesome.
Summertime fun! At the Kansans for Life annual picnic! 
Now, onto my little reflection of last Friday's events...

So after a more-than-crazy day (which I cannot go into right now, because it would take way too much time), I came home to hear my mom say "Can you please get dinner on while we're at 5:30 p.m. Mass? Because after Mass, we need to eat immediately, so that we can get to this...surprise..." Well, naturally, I said yes. And then she revealed to me what she and dad had planned. In the newspaper, there was a full page ad about a skateboarding competition from 12-8. And it was open to everyone of all ages. So naturally, it would be a great family outing!

My first reaction was excitement. Which continued. And then a sense of adventure begin to swell up. This was super fantastic. My big homeschooling family was going to journey into downtown Wichita to sit at some skate park under Kellogg? YES!

So, after dinner, we all rushed out the door and made it to the skate park. Pretty sweet area--dilapidated buildings, fences, etc. The skate park had its own unique environment, though. Met with a faint smell of alcohol and cigarette smoke, the park was small, with several people scattered throughout. Most of whom had at least 3 tattoos. Everyone was mesmerized, watching multiple men attempt skateboarding tricks jumping from the top of a ramp. Some people missed their tricks and would fall. A couple people had their boards break. And some men would make amazing jumps and tricks!

And there I sat, incredibly enthralled. Sure, I may have looked out of place in my nice white skirt, lace-edged shirt, and Feast Day Hat, but I was meant to be there. It was awesome. And as my mom and I made small comments to each other during the competition, the wheels began to turn in my mind. No matter what religion or beliefs these people had, one thing was true: by their actions, they were all teaching powerful lessons about the spiritual life. I know absolutely nothing about skateboarding, but these are the things that struck me:

1. They would put themselves into the skateboarding/trick wholeheartedly. I mean, each man would skateboard to the top of the ramp, and jump super high off of it and throw himself into doing a crazy trick. The men held nothing back. They gave it all they had.

~~In the spiritual life, we must have the same attitude. Look at the goal (the trick the skateboarders were to perform) and go for it with everything. No matter how crazy the leap of Faith may seem, just go for it.

2. Whenever a skateboarder missed a trick, it someone was always nearby and gave him a hand or a smile. And when he would finally make a trick, everyone would scream wildly!

~We must encourage each other in the spiritual life! Affirm others when they do good, and give encouragement when they are going through difficulties.

3. The skateboarders did not fall in despair. Yes, many of them fell when attempting different tricks. I seriously don't know how their bodies could handle it. But what happened when they fell (which in some cases probably hurt)? They did not wallow in their failure. They got up. Actually, most sprang to their feet very gracefully (it kind of looked like they were dancing).

~~In the spiritual life, we cannot fall into despair. Yes, we fall--we sin--we fail. But we can't just stay down their and wallow in our failure. We have to jump back up again!

4. Not only did the skateboarders get back up, but they re-tried their tricks many, many times. They would not settle for mediocrity. They sought excellence. It was actually very cool to watch how the guys would attempt a trick, fall, spring up and run back into line!

~~After we've gotten back up after a sin or failure, we can't just stand cluelessly. We need to run to Christ and keep trying over and over again to do His will. Settling is a problem that many people go through. A Catholic may say, "Well, I go to Mass on Sundays--and sometimes during the week--get to Confession, pray, so I'm good, right?" This is settling, not moving forward any more in the spiritual life. But we were not made to settle. God made us for tremendous union with Him, which we can prepare for in continually seeking greater holiness! 
As Jesus said, (after several teachings on  living a life of holiness)
"So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."