Every family has their stories.
You know the ones, the embarrassing anecdotes that remain funny no matter how many times you tell them.
In my family, it starts out with, “My sister got her head stuck in a bridge.”
Right from the start you can tell that this is going to be an unusual and interesting story.
How many people do you know who’ve gotten themselves trapped in a piece of architecture?
It gets funnier when you understand that my sister was an extremely fearful little girl. She would have screaming, immobilizing panic attacks on our way to school in the morning if a slug happened to be in her path. She knew, with certainty, that the offensive creature was going to jump up on her. Another of her major fears was, and still is, heights.
So my family was vacationing in Eastern Washington. We stopped at one of those tourist pull-offs to take in the view of the ravine we were driving over. My mom, the originator of our childhood fears, was too afraid to come out on the bridge with us, so my dad took my brother, sister and I out to the middle to look down and spit (that being what you do when you’re really high up).
I was tall enough to lean over the railing of the bridge and my brother was small enough that his head easily slipped through the bars. My sister was just enough between us she was able to quickly stick her head through the bars, but when she tried to pull her head back out her ears got stuck.
This of course caused panic.
Extreme, terrible panic. She started flailing about and screaming. My mom couldn’t tell what was actually happening, she just knew that my sister was throwing a fit and yet still was looking down into the deep canyon below us. My brother and I were cracking up that my sister was stuck in the bridge and my dad was trying to calm her down enough to get her unstuck.
Can’t you just picture it? An eight year old girl looking down through the bars of a bridge screaming. Her siblings laughing at her and relishing each car that drives by on the bridge and increases the panic. Her dad yelling at her to stop crying and calm down. Her mom yelling at the whole family from the edge of the bridge but completely unwilling to come out. It was wonderful.
Finally my dad convinced my sister to calm down and he helped her extract herself from the bridge. We all walked back to the car and headed home. That moment will never be forgotten by any of us, though, and my brother and I do our best to make sure that anyone we come into contact with will never forget it either.
I could leave it at that, because it’s a funny story. But I was talking to my mom today about what spiritual lesson we could possibly derive from such a random scenario. The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a perfect example it is of our reaction when we’re “stuck” in life.
We focus on the bridge, the ravine, the cars and the people around us. When really all we need to do is focus on the One who is truly able to help us out. Once we are willing to tune everything else out and focus on God we’ll see that He is perfectly able to direct us on the best way to get “unstuck.” Once my sister followed my dad’s instructions her head quickly slipped back through the railing.
All she needed was to listen to his voice and obey him.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow Me. John 10:27