Have you ever done something that was semi-dangerous, but then didn’t realize until afterwards that what you just did could have possibly killed you and you probably shouldn’t have done it?
For instance, I used to live in Atlanta until I was ten years old. Our neighborhood had a bunch of tall hills and my parents, my little brother and I used to go for walks in the evening. Sometimes my parents would let us roller skate or ride our bicycles as long as we stayed in sight. On one particular evening, I decided I wanted to test out my new roller skates. Only except I was wearing a tank-top and shorts. With no elbow pads. Or knee pads. My little brother followed me around the house saying “I think this is a bad idea. You should at least put some long pants on.” But me being the stubborn 9 year-old that I was (and determined to prove him wrong), skated right down the drive-way and onto the road…..without waiting on my parents.
Our house was in the middle of a hill, so I had to go up an incline for a short distance before I got to the top of one of the steepest hills in the whole neighborhood. I reached the top right as my parents started up the incline and eagerly began my descent.
I quickly realized just how bad of a decision that was. About halfway down the hill I was going so fast that my feet were starting to wobble. Some of the neighborhood boys saw me and screamed for me to lean backwards and “apply the brakes.” I shook my head because in my mind, I was over halfway there and if I leaned backwards I would fall on my butt and that would be embarrassing. Good one, Sarah. Instead you fell on your face, which is more embarrassing. Actually my right knee hit first, and then I rolled a good distance before finally coming to a complete stop. My brother had witnessed the whole thing and had removed his skates so he could run down the hill towards me. Of course, the first words out of his mouth were “I told you so. You should’ve worn long pants.” I replied by crying as loud as I could while one of the older boys picked me up and ran me up the hill towards my dad.
Needless to say…..I never roller skated through my neighborhood again. In fact, I’ve never roller skated on asphalt again either. I’ve only ever gone to a skating ring since then and even there I skate verrrrry sloooowlyy. I also have a nice pretty scar on my right knee and I have to endure periodic reminders from my little brother that he was right and I was wrong. Shut up, Stephen.
Anyways, I am sad to admit that this past weekend was another one of those incidents. My close friend and I decided to go horse-back riding. If you remember, I have two horses. If you also remember, I am having knee surgery a week from today, so I wanted to go riding one more time before I spend two weeks on the couch. We left her house at about seven o’clock in the evening and set out down the road. We were having a good time exchanging stories and talking about all sorts of things. Then we realized that our horses were moving kind of slow and we could very well end up riding home in the dark, so we picked up the pace for a little while. Unfortunately, we weren’t fast enough and soon found ourselves riding down a dirt road as the sun went down. I was a slight bit nervous because my horse has never been ridden in the dark, and she already spooks somewhat easily. But she seems to be doing okay, so I stayed on her instead of getting off and walking her.
Eventually, we made it back to an actual road, and by then it was completely dark. It was actually pretty fun riding in the dark though…we just had to go slow so that the horses didn’t trip in any holes or anything like that. I contemplated getting off my horse as we road next to the for-real road because I didn’t know how she would react to the headlights, but I decided to stay on her because I usually have better control over her on her back instead of on the ground. She did pretty well as the first few cars zoomed by, and I was pretty excited over how calm she was.
We then had to go under a tree with a lot of low branches. That was “fun” because I couldn’t see the branches, so I just had to hold up my arm in front of my face and hope that there weren’t any snakes hanging off of the limbs (worst. nightmare. ever.) But my horse did not appreciate getting randomly smacked in the head with tree limbs, because as most of you well know, horses don’t have arms to block their heads, and she started tossing her head around. We made it out of the tree……just in time for a car to go zooming by. And that’s when my horse finally decided that enough was enough. She threw her head and promptly backed straight into the middle of the road before I had time to really realize what was going on and get her under control.
Thank GOD there were no other cars coming, so I was able to get off of her and lead her back to safety. I spent the last quarter-mile of our ride dismounting every time a car approached us and then re-mounting after it had passed….mainly because the grass was really tall and I didn’t want to walk through it. We made it back with no other incident and I left shortly after getting everyone put away. It was only AFTER I got in the car and started driving down the road that I realized just how bad that could have been. If there had been a car coming down the road in that moment, then we easily could have both been killed. I definitely spent a few minutes thanking God for watching over me in that moment and keeping us both safe.
But I will say this: riding for over two hours was a ton of fun. Riding in the dark was also a ton of fun. And if I had the opportunity to do an overnight-ride away from busy roads, I would totally be in. Just don’t ask me to go roller skating. Because that is totally NOT happening. Ever.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.” ~Psalm 28:7