I looked up from where I was laying on my side, stunned.
How did this even happen?
Just a second ago, I was having a good time! It all happened so fast…
I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.
My dad was now kneeling in front of me.
“Are you okay?”
I shook my head. I was not okay. I was angry, surprised, and most of all, I was hurt. The throbbing in my knees and hip was in no way a close comparison to the throbbing in my heart.
I couldn’t stop the wheels from slipping, I couldn’t press the breaks quickly enough, a million things were running through my head.
If only it wasn’t for that stupid gravel.
“I-I’m going inside.”
My dad started to help me up. Looking at the bike on the ground with its wheels still turning, he looked thoughtful for a second.
“You know, a lot of times we fall in life. And it may hurt. But the important thing is to get back up on the horse and keep trying.”
I was stunned at what he was saying. Didn’t he feel sorry for me? I was innocently riding my bike when that stupid gravel made my tires slip…
“I don’t ever want to ride my bike again!”
“Well, it’s your choice. But if you never ride it again, you’re going to miss out on that joy you felt.”
I thought about that for a moment. I was feeling great before I crashed. The wind in my hair, the rush of seeing the world blur around me! It was one of my favorite feelings, something that I loved to do.
“You’re not a quitter.”
I wasn’t? Well I sure felt like quitting now! But I started to feel a fire flicker inside me. He was right.
I took a deep breath, picked my bike off the ground, and slowly remounted. I saw my dad smile as I shakily started to pedal.
I started out really slow. I didn’t want to fall again. But after a few minutes when the pain mostly wore off, I started to pick up speed. I went faster, and faster, but always made sure to slow down when I left the cement and came close to the gravel.
It wasn’t the gravels fault that I slipped.
And it wasn’t mine.
As a kid, I didn’t realize I could slip on the gravel. How was I supposed to know? I hadn’t learned it yet, either through experience, or through other people telling me.
It was an honest mistake.
I was embarrassed. I was hurt. I was scared to get back on my bike.
But the important thing was I got back on.
Even when you fall.
Get back on.
You may have to start slow at first, but keep pedaling.
Keep your past mistakes as a lesson learned, but move on, knowing what to do to improve the next time.
Allow yourself to be free of the guilt from an honest (or knowingly) made mistake.
Don’t give up because you fell once. Or twice.
Or a hundred times.
Because the joy you’ll feel once you try again is worth the fall, every time.