I don’t have too much experience on a motorcycle, so hopping on the back of a dirtbike for me was more like hopping on the back of a raging bull at a rodeo. My dad had a dirtbike growing up, and Nathan rode motorcycles extensively in his last year of high school. So what was a stretch to their motorcycling skills, was a hop, skip, and a leap (and a crash) to mine. Just minutes after learning how to change gears on the beast, I found myself at a motocross track, complete with moguls, sharp curves, and jumps.
After one very shaky lap around the track, I sat at the bottom of the jump with about as much control as a 6 year old girl sitting on a rhinocerous. “Do I attempt it?” What kind of question is that? Of course I did. Unsure of myself, I didn’t quite go soaring through the air, but I did wheel that baby to the top of the hill. The next time around was a different story. I was hungry for some air. I was hungry for the next level. I gunned it, took off up the hill, and for a moment I tasted glory. When that brief moment was over, I tasted dirt. Picking myself up, I let my nerves settle before wheeling myself over to the benches.
That could have been the end of this story. I could have packed it up and sat out for the rest of the day just because I crashed once. However, I’ve learned these past couple years that falling is part of growth. It’s an essential part of growth. For most people, failing is the worst possible thing that can happen. The good news for followers of Jesus is that he is a redemptive God. That means that he takes our worst failures and can make them the greatest opportunity for growth and freedom in our lives. For me, the worst thing that can happen is to be too scared of failure to try. The lessons we learn from falling stay with us forever. We can let them crush us, or we can stand on top of them proudly, knowing that we are human and have pushed ourselves to our limits, and we can build on them.
I fell again and again that day, but by the time the sun was setting, I was flying over that hilltop. When I crawled in to bed that night, every joint in my body hurt. I didn’t fly as high or as far as dad or Nathan, but I was proud of myself. I had fallen three times, but I got back up every time, and I wasn’t afraid to fall again.