Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Trip

Oh boy what a trip! Jan, Henry and I had just returned from a skiing trip in California to our home of San Francisco. Now you may wonder about my veracity, but yes, we did go skiing in California. Where we three went skiing is called Big Bear Mountain and it is just a short distance from Bakersfield. Returning to the events of the trip we must mention that the three of us almost broke our extremities with which God had blessed us.

Let me relate to you exactly what took place. We took a cable car to the top of the mountain which was covered in snow about 3” deep. Almost immediately after exiting the car we rented skis at $25.00 a pop, plus a sizable deposit. In order to combat the snow we put the skis on. Jan decided at the last minute she needed to have the handsome ski instructor teach her the art of skiing. She was an accomplished skier, so I lean toward the appearance of the ski instructor as being the motivation for her visit.

Logistically, the instructor was located about 100 yards from where we got off the cable car. As Jan was on her way to the instructor for her lesson, she lost her balance and proceeded to ski down a steep incline. Actually, she was such a good skier that she could have managed the situation by herself. But, being the coward that I am, I talked Henry into going to her rescue. He began to gain the speed that Jan had already attained, until he hit a ridge. This caused him to do a summersault that was at least a 1 and 1/2 and be propelled onto the shoulders of Jan.

Fortunately, when Henry was in the process of doing his 1 and 1/2 his skis came off or they really would have hurt Jan. As I have stated, under normal conditions, this little girl is an excellent skier, but she was in a situation that was not normal. So she faltered in her quest of skiing down the mountain safely. I found the whole event to border on the humorous, until in between chuckles, a little boy accidentally pushed me down the mountain. At least I think it was accidental, because if it weren’t it was downright destructive.

Nonetheless, I was now skiing down an incline that was steeper than the ones of Jan or Henry. And I was going at a fast rate of acceleration and as mentioned, I am not only gutless, I am also a very poor skier. I can only relate to you that the change in moods from humor to fright is very difficult to adjust to. The same ridge that Henry had hit, was the one that I managed to also hit. Due to my increased acceleration I flipped in the air 2 times. In the process, I also lost my skis and I was propelled onto the back of Jan’s skis, which greatly increased her falter-ism.

As I held onto Jan, I discovered that our route included trees as we were headed straight for one. Apparently, the weight of two additional “guests” dramatically slowed our momentum and Jan was able to stop just before we collided with an oak.

“Oh, how great it feels to once more be safe,” we all said to ourselves. “Our prayers have been answered.” We decided to return to the lodge and forget about the money we had lost. Not that we ever would have found the skis. Besides we had concluded that the loss of funds was better than spending 10 days in a hospital bed. Over a hot drink and a roaring fire in the fireplace of the lodge and discussed our return trip to the city of the un-chaotic. In short, we tried to adjust back to normalcy.

Making waves = creating waves

And the creator of those waves is judged by society as being different from what is considered the norm. The primary reason for this is he/she has created another obstacle through which the average man must laboriously stumble. But, there never has been an outstanding individual who wasn’t viewed as different from the norm. And generally that outstanding individual influences the direction of many lives.

The individual who has dramatically influenced my life is Teddy Roosevelt. During his life, he was looked upon as a lousy businessman, a loner in general in that he would go into the badlands of North Dakota for several weeks by himself and gave a disproportionate amount of his ranch to his ranch hands. He also was considered a poor politician.

On at least two occasions he was confronted with his death and had he not been physically fit he would have succumbed to the grim reaper. When he was but a youth, his father demanded that he exercise on a regular basis to overcome his severe asthmatic condition. He did strenuous exercise to overcome this malady. And his extreme physical fitness carried over into his adult life. Two of his most famous quotations attracted me to the man. “Everyone who resides in this great country of ours is able to share in her abundant freedoms. In return we must show her our true allegiance. Both full and faithful,” and, “Heredity is important, yet anyone living in this country and showing their allegiance to another country, is living in the wrong place.”

While John F. Kennedy was the youngest to be elected president, Teddy was the youngest to occupy the office. He went from the “rough riders” to Governor of New York to the vice-presidency of the United States. When McKinley was assassinated, Teddy Roosevelt inherited the job of president. At the time he assumed the responsibilities of that office he was only forty-two. As president he made several significant decisions from the Boer War to choosing the location of the Panama Canal. And that my friends was not an insignificant decision, as many members of Congress and the electorate preferred Nicaragua as the optimum route for the canal. A close vote in the Senate settled the route.

The Panama Canal is listed among the modern wonders of the world as a magnificent engineering feat. In the process of performing his tasks as president, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the first sitting president to be awarded this prestigious compliment.

His accomplishments and failures have greatly influenced my life. Why should I bring out failures? Simply because a sum total of his failures contributed to his accomplishments. Teddy was smart enough to learn from his failures, which sadly I must say, is also greatly different from the norm.

What is considered the “normal individual” is scared to death of making a mistake. Or being considered a failure at his attempt of being a success. Generally, his unrealized greatness will not shine upon many people. Many times in my life I have grasped for veracity, when my soul knew what was truthful. The truth is generally most uncomfortable, whereas rationalization can be so comfortable that you can peacefully go to sleep.

For guidance with application of that truth I look to Teddy Roosevelt on the human level and God on the spiritual level. And that my friends is what making waves is about.