Fail to fly

On this day in 1496, Leonardo di Vinci made trials on his flying machine. It looked like a cross between a helicopter and a hang glider. The machine test failed. Instead of giving it the good ole Renaissance try, di Vinci let his failure to fly keep him grounded for years. I can relate. I’ve failed, or thought I failed, at things before, and determined never to try those things again.

I don’t know if it’s the haze of youth, but here’s how I remembered my one and only attempt at ballet: I had the opportunity to take ballet and tap lessons from a studio near my daycare. I was 4. My mom took me to the dance shop, bought all my supplies. I loved the tap shoes – they made fantastically raucous clackety-clack on the floors. I also had slippers and leotards and couldn’t wait for my first lesson. It was disastrous. I couldn’t get the hang of any of the feet positions, had no discernible talent or flexibility. I think after a few weeks, my mother and the teacher  put me out of my misery, but it was no longer fun for me, and hadn’t been since that first day.

I failed to fly. I had all these visions of ballerina’s soaring across the stage, floating above the boards on satin toe shoes. I looked more like a circus clown version of those ballerinas, scowl on my face, tights in tatters and graceful like a newborn giraffe. I’m not sure whether another round of lessons would have corrected the problems. That’s what happens when you quit, you’re left with “what-ifs.”

What if I had just overcome my difficulties? What if I could have pressed on a little longer? What if I could have used my God-given problem-solving skills? What if I didn’t allow my perception of other people’s perceptions to cloud my decision-making process? What if I wasn’t afraid to fail? What if I trusted myself? What if I trusted God? What if I trusted my friends and family to support me?

We can fly. Isaiah 40:31 says “but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” We aren’t relegated to what is possible NOW. With God, ALL THINGS are possible.

On this day in 2004, NASA’s Spirit landed on Mars and began transmitting images back to Earth. Five hundred and four years after Leonardo di Vinci failed to get off the ground, we landed on Mars – again. This year, believe in the possibilities of flight rather than the risks of failure.

How do you want to fly? What challenges have you faced?


11 responses to “Fail to fly

  1. “No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man¹s recorded history in a time span of but a half a century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than two years ago. The printing press came this year, and then less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power.
    Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America¹s new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight.
    This is a breathtaking pace, and such a pace cannot help but create new ills as it dispels old, new ignorance, new problems, new dangers. Surely the opening vistas of space promise high costs and hardships, as well as high reward.
    So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer to rest, to wait. But this city of Houston, this State of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward–and so will space…

    …We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people…

    …We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.” – John F. Kennedy, Rice University Sept 12, 1962

  2. I’m trying not to think of standard new years resolutions as an answer to what is a very profound question.

    The sermon yesterday morning told a story about a group of people told to pray for rain who then didn’t bring umbrella’s to the prayer meeting…I don’t want to be the faithless one showing up without my umbrella. I want to pray with the expectation that God will answer.

    I want to pay off my mortgage. I hesitate to even say this because it is such a far fetched idea, and yet the faithful action is so silly…I intend to faithfully not look for work, but keep writing, in the belief that the path God is currently blessing for me will meet the goal he has placed on my heart.

    And who hasn’t failed with goals like this? I have already and will continue to! Every successful writer has a thousand failures before their first big win. : )



  3. Continuing my education is it for me. I was a good student when I was a child and everything fell apart in high school – mostly for social reasons, but my education suffered too. I didn’t technically graduate high school. Facing college in my early 20’s was a big step because I never thought I’d go back to school at all. I failed again with that first attempt.
    Finally, after my children were born I decided to make another try for it, and found I was able to develop the skills to make an A- average. It’s been stop and go for the last five years because of lack of finances, but I’ve pushed through and I’m heading back into full time classes next week. I’m set to graduate with my BA three semesters from now. After that I have my eyes on post graduate studies.
    Great post!

  4. When I was nearing graduation a few years ago, I didn’t have any job prospects. I started getting nervous, and it was definitely a challenge to not freak out. I’ve found patience to be pretty key in facing challenges. It’s usually learned during challeneges too.

  5. Great post friend! I’m picturing you as a ballerina with wings right now! On another but slightly related note, leotard is a funny word.

  6. Pingback: To Die Daily | Messiah Mom

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