We moved around some when my sister and I were young.
One of the places we lived was in the upper part of New Jersey.
Somehow, to my some of my Southern friends, this makes me a Yankee.
Who would have thought that a couple of years up North could turn me so completely into a Yankee?
Anyway, that’s not really the point. I think I have a point…but that’s not it.
We’re watching the Olympics some these days….along with the rest of the world…and one of the things that I’m really enjoying is seeing how some of these athletes started out.
I love seeing these little kids skiing and snowboarding and skating.
I love seeing all this activity before it was a “quest” for anything.
When you see the faces of some of these athletes, you can see that they’ve managed to carry the “fun” with them as they’ve moved up in the sport.
I never had a “quest” for Olympic gold.
Of course, that’s always a good fantasy for a kid to have while he’s pushing himself around on the pair of skis he got for Christmas.
It’s fun for him to be able to imagine a podium somewhere while he’s whizzing by in a dormant cornfield at 10 miles per hour.
Imaginings never approached a real attempt to stand on any podium, though. They were always just a fun game.
While we lived in New Jersey, we used to go to a Lutheran camp somewhere in upstate NY. It was called Camp Koinonia….let me look it up real quick….in Middlesex, NY…up in the Finger Lakes region.
It was beautiful up there.
We’d go up in the winter for a family retreat with a bunch of other families from our church in Allendale.
I remember this one visit we made to Camp Koinonia.
It was pretty windy that day and we were all out on the frozen lake skating.
The lake was pretty big, and we’d skated far away from the rest of the group.
After we’d skated far from the other people, an even bigger wind came up and started to blow us around a little.
Then it started to blow us around a lot.
We couldn’t skate into the wind, but when we turned to join our friends, we discovered that we could hold our arms out and let the wind push us.
If we skated with the wind, we could really fly.
Really fly. I don’t mean that we could literally fly…that would have really been something to reminisce over…I mean that I’ve never moved that fast over the ice. It was outrageous.
It was hilarious to skate over to a friend and yank his hat off…and watch him frantically try to catch it as the wind carried it away on the smooth ice.
It felt good to have the wind push us like that.
It was pretty darn memorable.
I watch these kids on the television, skating and skiing and moving around on the ice and snow doing things I’m never going to come close to trying, and I think, “I bet that most of them have something like a windy day on a frozen lake to remember. I bet that something brings them that much joy.”
My experience with the wind and the ice was 40 plus years ago…but if I think about it a little, I can still hear the sound of the skate blades on the frozen surface, hear the wind blowing hard…hear our laughter. It is a palpable memory. It is so strong and good. All these years later, it is still so strong.
The things that drive us and stick with us are…hopefully…strong and good. The things that move us are bigger than we fully understand. It’s about strong feelings and memories. It’s not “having an appreciation for.” It’s not feeling some “strong affection” for an activity. It’s not about having an interest in something.
It is about feeling that uncontainable joy…joy so strong that it sticks with you over a lifetime.
It’s about joy so strong that it sustains.
I have a lot of moments like that.
That is the blessing that I’ve been given over the course of my life.
Being a “kite on ice” is just one of many “sustaining moments”.