I grew up skiing since the time that I was just four years old. In our family all the girls learn at the age of three how to ski, and the boys learn at the age of four. Skiing is something that I began to love. I remember when I was in just first and second grade and we would skip one or two days a week it seemed like to go up to the local ski resort. The ski resort is a place where I have learned many life lessons that I will remember and use for years to come. One of the most essential lessons that I have learned from skiing though was through the process of trying new tricks and learning how to do a backflip.
When I was younger I would always try and ski with the older kids. I did this some in part because I wanted to be in the "cool" crowd and be popular. The other reason would be that I saw how they were good at skiing and I wanted to be good like them. Some days they would help me learn new things about how to be better and how to go faster and stop quicker and how to approach a jump. All sorts of different things helped me to learn from them. Sometimes we would go down a run that wouldn't get used a ton and they would build some huge jump and when it was all done they would say something like, "Ok little man, you've got to hit it first to tell us how good it is, and you can have a good fresh landing." I always did it,not always that smart looking back on it now though. I would hike up the hill a ways and then they would just keep telling me to climb higher. Once again, I would always just do it. I loved doing this and I feel like it helped push me to the point of being uncomfortable, or what I like to call, the stage where you learn the most.
After a while I began to improve greatly and I started to make a lot of progress in the quality of my skiing. Then I started seeing the people that were still doing way more tricks and I knew that I still had room to get better. So I started to push myself the best that I could and I started skiing with them every chance I got.
I remember the day that I did my first 360, I remember the times when I was just young and entered in the big jump contest in the winter carnival. Soon all of the older kids were graduating high school and leaving and with time I got with some kids my age that wanted to be better also. I can't tell you how many wrecks and cuts and headaches and bumps and bruises followed in the next several years, but I can tell you that there were a ton of them! Up to this point I had been focusing on spinning and doing iron-cross and spread eagle type of tricks.
What next? We decided to go inverted. Now this is where the real life lesson will begin to apply. Every weekend we would get together and build a jump or two and try backflip after backflip. Now I don't know if you have ever had whiplash before, but that is exactly what happens when you under rotate on a backflip. Trust me, I have done it many many times. You are feeling all good about your rotation and then you realize that the tips of your skies aren't going to clear and that they will catch. There is nothing you can do. When your tips hit the snow and go under immediately they stop and your upper body and head take the momentum and speed up until they smash into the snow. If this is a really good powder day then you are going to be ok probably, but when it isn't the greatest day in the world I'll tell you that it'll get to you. The other option that you have is you can over rotate. This one has a different feeling all together, but still not a pleasant one. It's a lot like if you were to get picked up by the ankles and then dropped from four or five feet head first onto a trampoline.
So as you can tell, doing a backflip isn't an easy thing to learn. With this process comes a lot of pain and trials, but that was something that I knew when I first wanted to learn how to do one. I can't hardly express the feeling that I got the first time that I actually landed my first backflip. It was like I was as light as a feather and just smooth sailing through the air. The sense of accomplishment is so soothing and peaceful. you feel like you have just conquered the world.
It's not always like that though. Because there are so many times that you try to do it after you have actually succeeded and you just can't seem to do it again. I think at that point you just get laser focused and you try so hard that you actually end up putting yourself in a bad situation. I would just keep trying and more regularly I would actually start to land a backflip. Still to this day, I struggle with landing a backflip every time that I try, but because I know that I can do them I continue to try until I succeed.
As I have spent this time skiing and learning to do different tricks I have learned a number of different things. This Backflip lessons has to be the most influential though. Because of this connection in real life experience I know that I can return to live with my Father in Heaven. I know this because I know that I was there once, and that gives me hope that I can be there again one day. Once I had done the backflip, I knew I could do it again no matter how many times I failed. Now I know that no matter how many times I fail in life or make a mistake or sin, that I can overcome it and I can be with My Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ again. This must start with a knowledge of where we have come from. I know that I lived with God before I came to earth and so it gives me the daily hope that I can return to Him and the faith that I need to do it.
I want to invite each of you to take a look at your life and the great things you have done and the amazing places that you have been.
Next I want you to evaluate if where you are currently at can improve so that you can get back to those points and beyond.
Once you have done this, take action! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of hope and peace that requires Active Faith.