While staring at the frozen lake, Bobby could feel his anxiety rising. He wanted to skate across it, to feel the wind remind him he was alive. To feel speed, risk and danger. Bobby wanted to be the best. He wanted success, to be noticed, and to teach others how to ice skate. [What Bob really wanted was to be good enough to meet women and fall in love, but he figured that wouldn’t sound too good in his Sports Illustrated bio.]
Bob turned to God and said, “This is all I want, to ice skate and be free.” God was standing beside Bob, holding a pair of roller skates. Bobby and God came frequently to the lake, to chat and discuss the news, ice skating, and why women frequently tell Bob he’s such a nice guy, but they just weren’t interested.
Bobby had the drive, the desire, the passion (as much as he disliked buzzwords), but he did not have a pair of ice skates. Every time Bobby had his God date by the lake, he asked for ice skates. And each time God would tell him something deep and meaningful, but Bob felt, not very useful.
Today though, Bobby noticed God had something in his hands. God, seeing that Bobby finally noticed the roller skates said, “These skates are all you need. These skates will take you to every dream you have, every desire you want. Lace up Bob and let’s go.”
Bobby looked at God in the same way if you went to your favorite cupcake store and they gave you broccoli instead. However, since it was God, Bobs bit his tongue to keep his disdain and curse words to himself. Out of courtesy, Bob took the roller skates and asked as politely as he could:
“Umm, yeah I need ice skates, these are roller skates, this won’t work.”
“Bobby, these skates are all you need.”
“Okay, we have been coming to the lake forever, and I’ve asked you for ice skates and you say something cryptic and I leave empty handed and now you give me roller skates? I don’t want to turn this into a thing between you and me, but this is ridiculous! I’m going to fall down and break something in these things!”
“Yes? YES? What the…how dare you!”
“The greatest adventures and successes in life don’t make a lot of sense. Lace up Bobby, I’m ready to skate with you.”
Bobby threw the skates down and said, “Enough, I’m done. I’m done with the woo woo sayings and all this crap. Why can’t I get a straight answer? Why don’t you care? ”
The moment wasn’t lost on God, he cleared his throat and said, “Bobby, of course I care. I’m not trying to be difficult, and I appreciate your honesty. Everything I’ve told you in our lakeside chats will make sense when you start skating. Your future is waiting, the world is waiting for you to start skating. But you can’t skate with ice skates. It won’t work. I can’t teach you in ice skates. You have to skate with these rollers.
Yes, you will fall. Yes, it will hurt. Yes it will be messy, and not pretty. But it will be beautiful. Each time we come here, you ask the same thing, and I’ve been waiting for you to notice what’s in my hands and go. Stop standing on the side. Go. The problem isn’t your lack of ice skates. The question is, are you willing to skate with these roller skates. Are you willing to go when it doesn’t make sense, when you don’t understand. Or are you going to stand here and be safe and complain?”
Bobs was speechless, looking at the lake, God, and those spankin’ roller skates.
“Okay, I’m tired of arguing. For the record, I am still angry, frustrated, and confused. But you are right, I can stand here and whine or do something about it. One final question, why roller skates? For real.”
God laughed. This helped Bobs calm down a little bit, but also creeped him out too.
“Bobby, don’t you see, I am the roller skates. I’ll be with you, when you fall, when you crash and burn, when you skate like the wind. But we can’t get on with it until you get on the ice. Be mad, be angry, call me bad names in your head, but let’s get going, shall we?
Bobs smiled a little bit, shook his head, laced up, and away they went, shaking, falling, crying, and laughing all the way down the frozen lake.
[photo by Remko van Dokkum]