Did you get to roller-skate when you were young? Recently I was reminded of how much I loved roller-skating.
When I was a girl, our big downtown Dallas church had a recreation building with a gym, a trampoline, a four lane bowling alley, and one whole floor was a food bar and a roller skating rink.
I wonder who had the vision to build all that in the church.
I would like to thank them.
Many Saturdays my mom would drop my brother and I off in front of that building and we would play for hours.
I especially loved the roller-skating.
Oh, the excitement, waiting for the elevator doors to open. The loud organ music would greet us, and we would rush to the counter to check out skates. Then sit on the wooden benches along the wall, we would throw our shoes underneath, pull on thick socks, and get the skates laced up just right.
Then swoosh, we flew through the opening onto the rink.
Notice: No knee pads. No helmets. We were free!
It was exhilarating, skating fast, feeling the breeze on my sweaty face, crashing (on purpose, usually, but not always) into the wooden half-wall that surrounded the rink, or slowing down to weave into the center, between the metal poles that divided the restful middle from the outer ‘race’ track.
If my memory serves me right, everyone skated counter-clockwise.
Sometimes I would skate against the flow.
It was a noisy place: the music and announcements on the loud speaker, the scritching-scritching of the skate wheels on the wooden floor, the crashes into the wall, and the yells and squeals of us skaters.
It was pure fun.
The last time I roller-skated was at a friend’s birthday party, probably 10 years ago.
I could still do pretty good … keep with the beat of the music, skate fast and backwards, and coast the length of the rink while squatting down.
I loved it, but I must say there was an element of fear I never felt as a kid.
I knew I could get seriously hurt.
This week was a memorable one, because I welcomed Jake home.
On Monday I was glad to bring him home from the airport, after his lo-o-o-ong month of work in Bolivia.
On Friday I was seriously glad to bring him home from the hospital, after another episode of blood clots in his lungs.
What does that and roller-skating have in common?
Nothing, I guess.
Except that it was while I was driving to the hospital that God used a radio voice to remind me of those happy roller-skating days and somehow the joy of remembering strengthened me.
This morning I read Psalm 97 and verse 11b says “Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.” (The Message)
Perhaps while I was roller-skating, or while singing in choir at church, or doing art projects at school, or riding my bike . . . perhaps while I was young, God was quietly composting my child-heart and planting His joy-seeds there.
Now I am old, in the season of hospital visits and frequent funerals, and life has increased elements of fear.
But I feel flowers of joy blooming in my heart.
Joy that gives me strength.
Remembering roller-skating is remembering this: Jesus loved me as a girl. He gave me joy then.
And He still does.