Southern Indiana Living

JAN-FEB 2018

Southern Indiana Living magazine is the exclusive publication of the region, offering readers a wide range of coverage on the people, places and events that make our area unlike any other. In SIL readers will find beautiful photography, encouraging s

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Jan/Feb 2018 • 45 S ledding in the dark is never a good idea, especially when you don't know what's ahead of you. Just ask my uncle Brian. He learned that lesson the hard way when he was about twelve years old. We had just been hit by several inch- es of snow, which was all the excuse my family needed to gather for a sledding party in the field by my cousins' house. The hill was huge and perfect for those classic Flexible Flyer sleds with metal run- ners. In my day we didn't mess around on plastic saucers. The only thing that stood between us and a painful, icy death on the slopes was a few pieces of birch wood and two steel rails. Those sleds flew when the snow was right, but the runners could slice your finger off if you're weren't pay- ing aĴention. At least that's what we told each other on the playground. Brian rode "The Black Widow," a sled he'd customized by painting it black and writing the words "BLACK WID- OW" across the planks in bold, white let- ters. He'd also painted a white spider on it just for a touch of danger. I'd seen him ride that sled a million times and typically he'd either grease the rails with soap or candle wax to make it really fly. Tonight was no exception. The second the Black Widow hit the snow it was gone. Even though almost forty years have passed I can still see the dark shape of the Black Widow winding its way down the hill. The sled track hugged the treeline to the right of the field where the grass was shortest, and it was a gloriously long ride to the boĴom. Brian was about two thirds of the way down the hill when I remember someone saying, "I wonder if he knows there's a ditch down there?" Ditch was understatement. The field ended in a barbed wire fence and a ravine that had to be a good eight to ten feet deep. We watched Brian approach it, wait- ing for him to turn, stop, do a ninja flip or something, but he had no idea it was there. The Black Widow launched silently into the abyss. Then nothing. No crash. No screams. No cries of agony. Nothing. I guess we were too far away to hear it. It seemed like we stood there for- ever, waiting for a sign of life, but it was probably just a few minutes. Eventually, a shadow emerged from the ravine, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief as he began to hobble his way back up the hill. Brian got off lucky that day, bruised and baĴered for sure, but nothing was broken. Just the fact that he could climb out of the ditch was miracle in itself. Sometimes life is like that. We don't always see the obstacles ahead. Some days the boĴom just drops out and we crash hard. Whether it's a crash at work or a crash in our marriage, a struggle with money or a struggle with depression, it doesn't maĴer. The results are the same. We end up in a ditch. If we're lucky, we're able to pick ourselves back up and go on our way, but other times we're so wounded, so broken that we just lay in the boĴom unable to move. The fact is there are some ditches in life we can crawl out of on our own and others where we need some help. That's why I love the words a king named David once wrote about a time he was stuck in a ditch, surrounded by more trouble than he could handle. Yet, despite his circumstances, David knew he wasn't in the ditch alone. He said, "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand" (Psalm 40:1-2 NIV). David knew that just as we areprone to land in ditches, God is prone to save us. That means the next time the bot- tom drops out of your life, you can turn straight to God. The Bible teaches that there's not a canyon deep enough where he can't find you, not a circumstance bad enough where he can't help. • Jason Byerly is a writer, pastor, husband and dad who loves the quirky surprises God sends his way every day. You can catch up with Ja- son on his blog at or on TwiĴer at www.twiĴ Above: A snapshot from a family sledding day / Jason Byerly Winter Wipeout Everyday Adventures We had just been hit by several inches of snow, which was all the excuse my family needed to gather for a sledding party in the field by my cousins' house.

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