Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Prayer in High Places

The ski season is dragging on. Last year I had such fun skiing, but a few things are different this year.

First, Tara isn't here and I miss skiing with her. Second, although we've had a lot of snow on the mountains, it has come in huge batches as opposed to smaller storms frequently. What this means is that the snow comes, the skiing is good for a few days, and then it gets skiied off and icy. Ideally you get the smaller storms in between to drop a few inches here and there to keep it fresh. Otherwise it gets skiied off and icy, which is a drag for someone who is just an intermediate skiier. Like me.

I've also been working at the ski school all winter. I do like it and I hope to do it again next year, but as the season wears on, I find my patience with people starting to wane. I mean really, why do people act surprised when they show up at 10am and it's a problem to get their kids into ski school? All information and paperwork tells them to be here at 9am! Are they really surprised to find that the lessons have already begun and it's a bit of a disruption to the other kids to try and fit these late arrivals in? But we're a service oriented business and so we do our best to accomodate them with a smile.

So today I found myself rolling my eyes and being annoyed at this family--all of whom were nothing but nice, I might add--because it was a lot of rushing around. They had just arrived late the night before and wanted to take the ski lessons they had signed up for. But they were minutes from the cut off and still needed to complete paperwork, buy tickets, get fitted for equipment, and join their respective groups. It was going to require a lot of speedy work, running around, and getting approvals for late arrivals. But we did it.

I found myself annoyed even further when the dad decided that the kids both needed new ski socks and he repeatedly ran in and out of the ski shop to try these new socks on the kids. And, he was continually going through the back halls of the ski school, which isn't allowed unless you're accompanied by an employee.

I let this go on for a little bit (because I'm lazy and was over it) until another employee told me I should really stop this guy from trekking through the ski school (it's for security purposes that only employees are allowed in the area where the ski school kids are). So as I saw him disappear up the stairs again, I took off after him and found him out on the snow at the base of the lifts talking to his wife.

I pasted a smile on my face and I strolled over. I asked if I could help them with anything else. They smiled, were very gracious, and said no, and thank you for all I had done to help them (made me feel guilty). And then I explained that if they needed to go in and out to the ski school again, they needed to use the outside stairs unless they were accompanied by an employee. They were embarassed that they didn't realize it to begin with.

Then they asked me if they waited there, would they see their son, who is 5 1/2, come out and start his lesson. I hesitated and then said yes. And then I explained that they should only wait there if they were sure their son wouldn't be upset to see them, which frequently happens with the younger kids--they don't necessarily want to be in ski school anyway and when they see their parents, a meltdown ensues. But they assured me he would be excited to see them and to show them his skiing.

And then the dad said, "Joseph has overcome a lot of challenges in life already and we just want to see him ski."

And I knew. I KNEW instantly.

"Joseph had a bone marrow transplant and he's just been through a lot. He's just excited to show us what he can do."

My jaw hit the floor. And of course, I told them about Finn. And we stood there, out on the snow in the blazing Colorado sunshine, sharing our stories about our sons.

It was nice and it reminded me to remember to soften my heart.

After we were finished talking and I prepared to go back inside, the husband grabbed my arm and asked how I felt about having a quick prayer right there and then for Finn. I did secretly think for a second that my co-workers were going to think I was nuts, standing out in the midst of the chaos of a spring break ski day praying with the guests, but then I decided I didn't care. Prayer is prayer no matter when or where it occurs and I feel lucky to have had the experience of crossing paths with this family today.

Although I did give them a gentle reminder to be on time tomorrow.


Grandma J said...

I loved that story! Of course there is a special bond between pediatric cancer families that no one else can understand. I'm so glad that Finn is thriving so well off treatment.

About Caroline,
I left Marey a comment letting her know that I would send Flat Caroline to you, once I get it and take my picture, and "show her around TX". I will email you. :)

Lisa said...


Strange how God works. Always teaching.

Kristie said...

Natalie, what a wonderful story ... I always relish the chance encounters with other pediatric cancer families because like Grandma J said, no one quites "gets it" like we do. I'm happy you were able to get that (although I would have been annoyed, too, that they were late.)

Pediatric cancer gave me a resorvioir (sp?) of empathy ... and at the same time, took away all my patience, ha!

Emily said...

Natalie-Man,I needed that reminder-thanks for the great story. Being a mom to a cancer child often puts us in a bubble thinking that no one has had it as rough as us. It's nice when the Lord gently reminds us that there are others out there who have been through it too.

Stephanie D. said...

WAY cool story. Definitely a God thing... IMHO!

Leeann said...

Beautiful story of providence. :-)

in a world surrounded by men said...

AWWWW... I'm sitting here at the end of a long day, tearing up. Just think what kind of ba - I mean guts that guy had for initiating the prayer with you - forget how you felt about praying with a guest, HE was asking an employee to pray.


Mountain Mama said...

Oh so sweet!

I love it when God does things like that! I am sure you encouraged them.

1dreamr said...

Great story. I constantly have to remind myself to see the innocence in people rather than immediately getting angry or frustrated. It's a never ending battle.

Anonymous said...

Oh, so much lesson here! I love this! I'm taking it with me to remember to be "kinder and more understanding." Thanks for giving us this! Maryanne

Beth said...

This is a wonderful story!

Aren't you glad that you stayed with them until you got the message you were supposed to get? It's always amazing when that happens.

Makes me want to be more patient.