My stage fright is slowly decreasing when I ride my unicycle, aka Blanche. I know I’ll be better prepared for an audition … one day. I have made a point to wave at anyone looking my way when cruising my four-mile route. Gardeners, delivery drivers and farm workers are, hands down, the friendliest people. They wave back 90% of the time. Do I fall more often from nerves and hand waving? Yep. Things are humming right along and I wave, then splat! My critical voice shouts in my head. I ignore the voice and hop back on Blanche.
So, now I am learning to idle on Blanche, you know, just sit there without going forward or backward but rocking back and forth in place. Impossible you say? I agree. At least at this point. In the beginning, I had to hide my idling goal from my husband because I practice down our hallway for support on both sides. I know he would not dig the possibility of me “jacking up” the walls and I did not want a lecture from my husband. He obviously feels that riding the unicycle is an outdoor sport. So I broke it to him gently last night at dinner. I mean, it is my house too! I shared my goal with him and where exactly I’ve been practicing this stunt. I was right, he was concerned. Then I had to remind him that walls are, well, just walls and that “it is not open-heart surgery!” Are you thinking, “What the heck is she talking about?” What does open-heart surgery have to do with any of this?
Here is the story on this saying, which is one of the valuable life lessons I keep tucked in my mental back pocket. You see, when my Baby Lucas was deathly ill, EVERYTHING in my world paled in comparison. Literally, nothing else mattered except my baby surviving his two open-heart surgeries, eating through a tube and ventilator dependency (a nurse sixteen hours a day included). Back then, I could have cared less about my stuff, house, cars, clothes, walls, holidays, or upcoming events. Things lost their earthly meaning. I just yearned for health and togetherness. Although it was a sad place to be, God showed me a new perspective on life through that pain. Ever since Lucas (now thirteen!) was a baby we repeat a saying around our home when things go wrong, or awry and it is, “Well, at least it is not open-heart surgery.” My Techie forgot that when you hold those words next to most daily trials, stupid fluff or worries (like a scuffed wall), it really is nothing to grow angry over. When our house caught on fire while we were on vacation I thought, “Thank God, it is not open-heart surgery.” When my younger son spills his milk (practically daily), or I drop the open can of coffee all over the floor or (fill in your own frustrating blank) I move forward with a smile knowing that although it’s a pain, it thankfully is not open-heart surgery. These few words lift the load tremendously. In a way, having a sick baby taught me not to sweat the small stuff. Like idling on your unicycle in the hallway, for example.
So after our debate and walk down memory lane, my best-friend and Techie husband comprehended that learning to idle in the hall is not like open-heart surgery. At all.
Riding a unicycle is like life. To be successful and enjoy the ride, they both require tremendous balance and focus. I sit up tall, shoulders back and imagine I am holding one of my young boys under each arm. My best-friend-techie-husband’s hand on my seat (hubba, hubba) to guide me, and my two wiener dogs running alongside, looking like double Dumbos. As I train to ride Blanche, my unicycle, in a half-marathon, I think how good God is as the breeze blows my brown hair, a big smile on my face. Come along for a thrilling one-wheel ride while I do my best to maintain balance... but keep an open mind, there is always something new to learn!