One time I tried to wakeboard.
If you had ever seen me try to water ski, or kneeboard, or even go tubing for that matter, you would have tried to stop me. Call it “fomo“ or delusions of grandeur, but I’d watched everybody else (read: the 17 year old high schoolers in my youth group at the time) and wanted to give it a shot.
At this point you should know a few things.
- I am athletically challenged. severely.
- I have a fear of water.
- I have performance issues.
But I strapped on a life jacket, threw the wakeboard in the lake, and held my nose as I jumped in. The claustrophobia set in about the time I strapped BOTH my feet into the same board. It isn’t natural.
What happened next can only be described like one of those car wrecks that you desperately want to turn away from, but just can’t. I tried over and over again to sit low enough in the water, keep the rope close to my chest, and simply let the boat pull me up until I was standing on that board. And over and over again the rope would get out in front of me and I’d face plant into the water, come up gurgling and gasping for breath, check to see if my nose was bleeding, and then attempt to flip myself around while still connected to that stupid wakeboard. My friends on the boat didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Two tries. Three tries. Ten tries. Twenty-six tries.
They wanted me to stop, but I was desperate to prove I could do it. And desperate for the work I had already put in to pay off. So that when I climbed back in the boat, we’d tell the story of how I’d stood up! I’d done it! The many attempts would be forgotten in the face of ultimate victory.
I couldn’t give up now.
If I quit after thirty-one failed attempts, I might as well have quit after the first. It wouldn’t be worth anything.
I was exhausted. My body was worn out. Instead of getting better, I was getting worse. My legs felt like jelly and my arms felt like spaghetti.
And finally I realized that my efforts were no longer productive. So I got back in the boat. Well, they pulled my limp body back in the boat. They offered awkward but sincere, “Nice tries.” And I pretended like that day never happened. Until I decided to write about it and preserve it for all eternity.
I’m not suggesting you give up just because it’s hard.
But if you’re waiting for the victory to justify the journey, you might be missing the point. And if you’re worn out, beat up, dried up, and emptied out, it might be ok to take a lap in the boat. There’s always tomorrow.
What do you think?
Image Credit :: Coreyu (Creative Commons.)