We all need a shove sometime

I loved summer as a kid.  Summers meant playing outside with neighbors, spitting watermelon seeds, running around the Recreation Center while dozens of church leagues played softball, stopping at the open-air ice cream shop on the way home, mosquito bites and lots and lots of swimming.  A natural swimmer, I was always called a fish.  None of us took lessons; we just jumped in and figured it out.  But as easy as swimming was, diving was something entirely different.  I just couldn’t do it.

So there I was, one summer morning on Big Star Lake in Baldwin, Michigan where we rented a cottage for two glorious weeks every July of my childhood.  Rocking at the end of the dock, my brothers shouted personal remarks of the un-encouraging sort.  My dad, never a patient one with kids, decided he’d had enough and stomped up behind me.  Knowing how he works, I warned him that this time I was going to do it.  I was just going to dive in.  Any second now.  K…in a few minutes.

My thumbs were intertwined, my knees bent, my ears squeezed between my shoulders.  “I’m gonna do it.  I’m gonna do it.”  This was the day.  Or not.  “Oh for pity’s sake, just do it already!”  This did not help.  I decided to make a show of it to appease my dad, but I knew that I wasn’t going to do it, but… I rocked for his sake anyway.

Then, I was sucking lake.  With foot on my rear, (I’m not making this up) he gave me a good, hard shove.  My entrance into the lake was not the lovely arc I had hoped to have but more of head-first plop.  This did not thrill me, but I did dive and the first time didn’t have to be pretty.   A few summers ago I had the joy of diving and diving and diving from the dock in Lake Chelan with my two sons.  Oh it was fun and I have to say, my dives were quite graceful.

As much as I didn’t like it at the time, sometimes a good shove is exactly what we need.  Not many of us are going to ask for it, but when it comes to kicking us out of complacency, sometimes we need a friend behind us giving us a good shove.

Many times we find ourselves on a dock of some sort, about to be pushed in.   I think God needs to put us in situations like those because there’s no other way we’ll jump in.  (Ever avoided a dock altogether?) We all have standing-on-the-dock experiences.  Maybe it’s a new job, a life transition, a big move.  It’s scary but this is where we switch to autopilot and let God take over.

When I look back at my dock experiences, often I’m standing there in position, rocking, saying “I’m gonna do it; I’m gonna do it,” with absolutely no intention of doing it!!  So often we need to get shoved out of complacency or inactivity.  But, we argue, talking about it with friends is so much easier!  That’s when I pray someone gives me a shove!! After the fact, I’m so thankful.  It’s so much better to have done it.  Even if we’re sucking lake, we did it.  Might not look pretty, but who cares?  The next time will be better.   Graceful, even.


4 thoughts on “We all need a shove sometime

  1. I used to camp at Big Star Lake when I was a kid too!
    one of my greatest memories there was winning a Frisbee toss. from the shore, we needed to throw it out to a dock, about 25 feet away.
    my brothers & they’re buddies didn’t think I could do it (sadly, nor did i) but in a weak moment (which ended up to be the greatest moment!), I got a burst of confidence and I hucked that thing. wouldn’t ya know it, for the first time in all my 10 years, I got lucky. it landed RIGHT where I needed it to. as clearly as the nose on my face, I remember every detail of that day.
    I remember the feeling of thinking ‘I can do anything!!!!’
    I especially remember the prize: a double dipped, mint choc. chip ice-cream, in a SUGAR cone!!
    just a little encouragement from my folks and a few friends made all the difference.
    i remember thinking, ‘weed out the bad voices and only hear the good’.
    i’m so thankful for those that ‘pushed me’ to do it and just as thankful to my pesky brothers that made me just mad enough to forge on thru.
    there ya have it…..there’s my story on my SHOVE. 🙂

    • Hurray for encouraging voices!!!! I miss Big Star so much. Best times ever. Didn’t hurt that I spent every birthday from 2 to 17. I loved reading this story. Good for you! I wonder if your ice cream cone came from store we used to walk to for ice cream. Sigh. I’d love to go back.

  2. I just wrote a “Weekly Challenge” post about this today. The gist was, just because something doesn’t come natural to us, doesn’t mean we can’t do it. In other words, sometimes we have to force ourselves out of our comfort zone. I think you said it better. Nice to meet you.

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