Monday, April 10, 2006

My family loves to snow ski. When each of the kids reached around 5th or 6th grade we taught them, and began to go when we could. Usually on church youth ski events.

Lauren's first year to go with the youth had to be postponed because she had pneumonia. She begged to go as she was healing, but we did not let her, as we felt it was too risky. I promised I would take her later after she was better. That happened a week or two later, and just the two of us went skiing. We had a blast!

Whitney's turn came a couple of years later. She was a natural and picked it up quite quickly. Her ability amazed me in such a short time. Both girls enjoyed going each year after that, even though we usually only went once, sometimes twice a season.

Beej's turn came early, as we had moved into a school district that took his class on an annual ski trip, and dad's were invited. He was way too much like me in his attitude. Point the tips straight down, and get to the bottom as fast as possible, and style didn't count. He loved speed. If he cut off an occasional person, he would feel bad, but he was just having too much fun.

Over time, his skill improved, and his technique with it. He could actually turn, though he didn't enjoy it near as much racing straight down the slope at breakneck speed. When you're young, it is often about speed. The faster, the better.

I didn't start until I was in high school. I jumped everything I could catch air off of. My bindings always had to be set tighter than my skill level required on the rental skis, as I did so much jumping that they simply would come off to easily.

I remember skiing Whiteface Mountain on the Olympic Downhill run the week after the 1980 Olympics. I remember that my skill level did not match what was required for the extreme upper portion of that run. They changed that sheer drop at the top from a smooth speed inducing section to a mogul field (for me it was more like a mine field) right after the Olympics were over... but I didn't know that until it was too late. I did not get more than 50 feet without falling. Then I slid and bumped over the moguls for another 50 to 100 feet, because it was so steep, and I could not stop. Trouble was, my ski was still back up the mountain.

Have you ever seen the young children on the slopes who have way more skill than most of the adults out there? Sickening isn't it? I know I am just jealous, but good grief, I worked hard to be as bad as I am, they could at least show a little respect. Anyway, someone like that saw my plight, schussed over to my ski and picked it up in one fluid motion, descended to the depth of my waning ego, and dropped it off without saying a word. I could have gotten it... really, I could. Wow, that was a long time ago.

BJ was improving all the time. Greater speed brought on more challenge. He skied every run that I would let him, and wanted to spend most of the time on the difficult ones.

Last winter, a group of us men and our sons went on a ski trip to Cadillac, Michigan. My friend Bob (from the Eggs Benedict story) led the trip with his two sons. We stayed at his sisters home... all of us, and they outfitted us with their own equipment. That was incredible! It was to be BJ and my last such trip together. Deanna has scrapped (scrapbooked) many pictures from it. One of my favorites, surprise, surprise, is where he is leaning on me (as he so often did).

During one of his kamikaze runs, he broke the bindings on these borrowed racing ski's. I was upset. I knew he did not do it on purpose, but it made my stomach churn to know that he had done so. I insisted that he tell them himself, what had happened. They were so sweet about it, and refused any compensation, as they insisted the bindings were due to be changed.

Beej's approach to his faith was just like it was in skiing. He raced through as much as he could, and remembered all he discovered, and grew from it. He devoured books, on-line sermons, and spent time filling his life with His life. He did not have to be reminded to do this. It was an inner desire that he learned to fulfill at a fairly early age.

His wisdom, knowledge and skill grew in this arena as well. He practiced his faith far more than he had opportunity to practice his skiing. God ministered to him through these times, and raised up a mighty young warrior. You know, one of those you see that have far more ability than many adults?

I Praise God that he used this to further the kingdom!

Bob's precious family put brand new bindings on that set of racing skis, and gave them to Bob and Deb. Bob and Deb did something unbelievable. They gave that pair of skis that BJ wore, with brand new bindings... to us. They wanted us to have them so we could remember...

Bob and Deb, you and your family have been such a blessing even before the skis. Just unbelievable!



At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Praying 4 u!

At 1:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just love your stories of you and your family. It is such a blessing to me to see what God has done and is doing in your lives. Thank you for sharing . rc

At 5:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent -- I traveled with my children as they were growing. We climbed mountains, rode horses, swam in the ocean -- all priceless memories. Sometimes we forget to enjoy (I mean REALLY enjoy) the times that we are away from the norm with our children. We take for granted that we'll have this time again. I know BJ is looking down from his best friend's side, smiling at all that has come from his suffering, your suffering - through His suffering. Your stories are inspirational and life changing every day. Thank you very much.

At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey...will you guys say a prayer for me? Someone I go to school with died at some point today and I just found out when I got here tonight...A lot of people are really upset...Thanks

At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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