Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Downhill by Kevin Corbin

On Saturday afternoon, Genni the wonder dog and I took our usual stroll around the lake. The sun was shining, the temperature hovered around the -1 range and the park was packed. People were making the most of a warm winter day. The trails were full of people walking. The section of the lake that is cleared was filled with skaters of all calibers. Even the playground was busy.

Further along we came to the toboggan hill, and it was crawling with people. It isn't a big hill and I counted more than forty kids plus parents. Seeing them enjoying the hill reminded me of a time in my own childhood.
There was a huge toboggan hill (bearing in mind I was in my early teens at the time ... it may have shrunk over time). I do know that it was much longer than the one by the lake. There seemed to always be kids there. We slid down on toboggans, sleds, old cardboard boxes, inner tubes or even just our jackets. The hill was always the site of much screaming and giggling.

Unlike some hills that I've seen photos of there were no clearly defined runs. You simply grabbed an empty spot at the top of the hill, piled on and away you went. There would be dozens of people going up or down the hill at the same time.
Children tobogganing, 1908
Photographer Unknown. Rowley Murphy collection. Glass plate negative Archives of Ontario, believed to be public domain
We seldom saw anything as fancy as the home made rig the children have in this 1908 photo
The rides were a lot of fun, although there wasn't a lot of control involved. You simply piled on, pushed off and went for broke. If everyone held on and the trip didn't involve too many bumps, we could travel a long ways, jumping off just before we ran into the school wall.

There were bumps and bruises galore, but seldom a serious injury. On occasion someone would break an arm or a leg, but that sort of damage was pretty rare. That kind of thing usually happened when someone ignored the rules and went sledding in dangerous areas that we all knew better than to attempt.

Once you got to the bottom, the work started. It was time to drag our ride back up the hill. You had to be careful not to slip or let go of the rope or the toboggan would head for the bottom of the hill without you along for the ride. When that happened all you could do was chase it to the bottom and start over again.

On the way up, you were always in danger of being run over by some out of control load of kids on their way down the hill. That meant that the trip uphill was seldom a straight line.

Getting ready for the next ride always took far more time than the actual ride itself. There was no way around that though. To get down the hill, you first had to climb it.

It was always easy to get someone to ride along with you. You could pack a lot of kids on the tube or toboggan with no problem. Pulling the tube or toboggan back up was a different story, the owner of the sled usually had to pull it up.

Life's like that times. It's easy to get people to come along for the fun parts but many just vanish when the work starts. I'm sure we've all been guilty of doing that at times.

One partner never leaves us though. If we allow Him to, God is always willing to grab hold of the rope and help us bring the load back up the hill. Often if we have the eyes to see, we'll find that He actually did all the work and pulled us up the hill.

Even if we jump on life's toboggan and ride back down without Him, selfishly enjoying the ride, He's there with us along the hill waiting to pick us up and patch us up when we fall. He's at the bottom of the hill waiting to help us bring the sled back up the hill.

When the load gets too much He'll be there. He's even there when we ignore His warnings and go sledding into places we shouldn't go.
Matthew 11:28-30 NET
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”
Where are you on the ride of life? Are you and God enjoying the ride together? Is he tending to your wounds on the sidelines or helping you up the hill? Or are you racing alone and struggling to get back up all on your own?
Until next time remember that God can accompany you on all the ups and downs of life.

Hallelu Yah (Praise God)
Be blessed

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