Our new home has hardwood floors in almost every room. The kitchen. The living room. The bedrooms. The nursery. I love hardwood floors: sweeping instead of vacuuming; the creaks of character in every step; how easy it is to spot that spider you thought you saw earlier crawling along the wall.
(Sorry buddy. The camouflage of the carpet can’t save you now.)
But Olivia, in her haste to explore every nook and cranny and cupboard of our home, has also discovered how much faster she can move on hardwood floors…and how much faster she can fall. Her arms and legs are speckled with bruises that prove just how “hard” these hardwood floors can be.
Just yesterday she managed to pull two dish towels out of a kitchen drawer and, within minutes, had them caught beneath her feet, causing her legs to slide quickly into the splits position like some circus performer as her forehead made contact with the hardwood floor.
“It’s a wonder babies even learn to walk,” my mother-in-law said, after watching Olivia add yet another bruise to the growing collection on her knees.
And it is a wonder, isn’t it? You’d think they’d give up walking altogether: choose to avoid the threat of falling on their face after doing it so many times.
But Olivia—bruised, battered, and a little shaken after her tangle with the dish towels—stands back up with a twinkle in her eye, daring the towels to trip her up again.
She lives with a fearlessness that makes me wonder when, during that whirlwind of a process we call “growing up,” we lose that stubborn determination. Babies don’t really understand the consequences of their actions, you might say. But Olivia’s little bruises prove otherwise.
She knows that walking is hard–that it will inevitably result in a few bruises–but she tries nevertheless.
I’m good at avoiding circumstances that might threaten me with the possibility of hardship or struggle. We do that, right? We like things to be easy. To be manageable. To fit within our framework of what we deem is worthwhile to pursue. We want our shopping “made easy.” Our jobs. Our relationships. Anything we assemble from Ikea.
Don’t get me wrong: easy can be good. Especially when you’re trying to quickly put together your new bookshelf in-between your daughter’s naptimes.
But wanting things to be “easy” has also caused me to avoid good things that were difficult. There is no threat of falling if we avoiding walking altogether.
So I’ve masterfully calculated my way out of situations that would take “a lot of work,” dropped relationships that were “just too difficult to keep up,” and abandoned goals that sounded great at the time but soon began to be “harder than I thought.”
I fight for the easy route all the time. Sometimes knowing full well that the easier route is not the better route. It’s just easier. And “blessed are those who pursue the easy life,” right?
(See Matthew 5:3-11 if your memory is failing you.)
Absolutely nothing comes easy for Olivia. We all clap after she poops because even that is a struggle. Sitting, walking, eating, growing, sleeping, playing, exploring…practically everything she does at any second of the day is bound to be some kind of challenge, whether it’s eating solid foods or finding her balance on hardwood floors. Hardship is inevitable. Every day presents a new struggle.
And she faces it head on.
(Just think about how strange the world would be if babies chose to take the “easy route” when it came to growing up. Restaurant menus would look a whole lot mushier. And let’s not even talk about the diaper industry.)
God sometimes leads us into rooms with hardwood floors, and rather than lay down a rug, He’ll tend to our inevitable bumps and bruises, eager to help us regain our balance and watch us walk again.
If you’re feeling like your feet are tangled up in a few dish towels, or if you’re feeling like crawling because your fall was too great, don’t give up. Face what’s in front of you with a twinkle in your eye, stand up, and take another step.
“Keep my steps steady according to YOUR promise, and never let iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalm 119:133
P.S. Sometimes being an agent of God’s kingdom in this world requires us to step out of our comfort zone, enter into struggle, and lift others up even when we really don’t want to. Perseverance is key. Starting September 1st, the Sometimes Gracefully community is going to be taking part in a weekly challenge series to cultivate community, creativity, and care in our unique patches of the world. It will sometimes take a lot of perseverance, but I want YOU to be a part of it. You can grab your FREE Cultivate Calendar HERE and join the movement!