Look Up The Slope Not Down It

Yesterday it was my husbands 40th birthday! Obviously it’s a big one and obviously he was allowed to pick exactly what he wanted to do. So a trip to Glasgow with the kids to spend one day at the science centre and one day at the indoor snow dome is what he picked.  It was amazing!  The science centre was great fun, I would highly recommend it.  As for the snow dome; real snow, button lifts and proper jumps-the full works. Sadly for me though I recently tore three ligaments in my ankle and knee which meant the likes of skiing were off the menu for me. I also have long term problems with my back so in all likelihood I wouldn’t have been skiing that day, even if i hadn’t fallen on the ice and wrecked my leg!

If I am honest this left me in a bit of a quandary about how the day might go for me (I know, a bit self centred hey?).  But I was nevertheless fully behind us going because my back problems often mean we can’t do the family activities as a four that we would like to do.  I didn’t want this special day to be another one of those occasions so I went armed with a book (and my phone!) and I did a full scope of the coffee shop situation. But when we got there I just felt so rubbish being sat behind a glass window watching them all go by.  I wanted to have fun too!  So I asked if they had any sledging spots open.  To my delight they had three spots for me and the kids for half and hour and that meant Rob could have a bit of time skiing solo. Perfect!

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Nevertheless, I felt slightly cautious. My ankle was killing me and I have a long history of falling and making my back worse. This quite quickly seemed like a slightly foolish decision but by then I was suited and booted with a pretty small and streamlined sledge in my grip.

To my amazement, not only did I have a fantastic time, but my ankle improved!  The little walk up the even littler slope seemed to stretch my ankle and calf muscles and despite speeding down the slope with the kids I felt no moans or groans coming from my back!  Complete success!

How often are we held back from participating in something because we think we can’t?  Or because we think we have nothing to offer?  I tend to think of me and my back problems as a drag on us all but yesterday I realised they don’t have to be.  I can still join in, I can still have fun and I can still make a difference to the people around me.  So how many other people can I make a difference too in that case?  What opportunities are there to offer my time and support to causes that I have previously written off due to my circumstances?

The kids and I had a wonderful time rolling around in the snow and sledging in tandem by holding onto each other’s sledges.  I didnt hold them back at all but my presence did bless us all.  I might not be able to join in the whole ski fest but I did my sledging and then I booked us a table at the very busy and popular restaurant overlooking the slope, where we then gorged ourselves on bratwurst.  If it weren’t for me hobbling around then we would have been stuck in a queue for half an hour trying to get a table and missing out on the afternoons skiing time.  I was useful and that’s a good feeling.  I’ve also learned that I can do more than I give myself credit for and new (fun) things aren’t off the cards for me.

This theory can be applied to all areas of our lives, not just fun family days out.  What is it that you think you cant join in with because of a busy schedule, poor health, lack of money or maybe a lack of confidence?  You might not be able to offer the same thing as everyone else, but guess what, you can offer something else!  Your time, your prayers, your energy.  It all makes a difference.  I saw a lady come down the slope in a ski chair!  She was being propelled forwards by a lady skiing behind her and pushing her.  She came flying down the hill at the utmost speed with a big smile on her face.  She obviously didn’t have the ability to ski alone but she still joined in and I was joyed by her determination and courage not to be held back.  Her participation was an encouragement to everyone around her.  Equally wonderful to see was my own little family when my youngest fell half way up the mountain.  My eldest was on the button list and my husband at the very bottom.  A couple of people half heartedly helped my little six year old but not enough to get him on his skis and back on his way.  My little girl didn’t realise his predicament until just skiing past him but she instantly skidded to a halt and then side stepped back up the slope.  My husband next appeared on the scene and together they collected his skis and then all skied in tandem down.  All completely different skiers, with different abilities, but they worked together until it was sorted.

So what do you do when you can’t join in?  You come at it from a different angle and you do it differently to everyone else.  You be bold, you be stout hearted and you join in and make a difference whenever you can.  Maybe it’s by blessing your family and friends with your presence.  If you can’t bless them in person maybe do it through letters, cards or messages. Maybe it’s doing volunteer work.  If you can’t volunteer then maybe you could raise awareness for a cause close to your heart on Facebook or Instagram.  Maybe it’s by financially supporting a charity you are interested or believe in.  If financial commitment isnt possible that doesn’t mean you can’t support them in other ways-just ring them and ask!  Charities are always looking for help in some shape or form.

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My time at the snow dome has challenged me to be open minded, to value what I have to offer and not to be afraid to offer what I have.  We can all make a difference to our families, communities and larger world in more ways than we think or give ourselves credit for.  We have a human right to join in with anything we want to and other humans have unmet rights that mean we need to be exerting ours.

So look up the slope with determination and excitement, not down it with fear and defeat.  When my son was waiting on that slope he didn’t sit down and cry or look down, overwhelmed by the sight.  He turned and faced up the slope, head on, knowing that help would come and that when it did, it would come from above.

You can do it.  You can make a difference.  You will be a blessing.

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