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Family Matters - Skating Lessons

January 26, 2016

This being the first Christmas since my father’s death, I wanted to start a new family tradition, trying to embrace our “new normal!” I invited my whole family to go ice-skating at the River Rink at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia. Longing for my younger years when life seemed easier and more carefree, I imagined us skating together happily as in a Christmas movie! It was my Christmas wish. One problem though… I had no clue how to skate! But like many experiences in my life, I ignorantly headed for the rink, “How difficult can this be? I can do this! No problem!” Denial is a wonderful thing!

I stepped out onto the rink and instantly realized skating was going to be much more difficult than I thought! As I started to lose my balance, I felt a hand reach out and grab me, helping me to regain my stability. Embarrassed, but thankful, for this stranger’s support I reached for the wall of the rink and held on for dear life! Fear and anger filled my heart because I realized my Christmas wish was never going to come true! Depression hit, I was losing all hope… until I saw my 5-year-old granddaughter Eavan who also had never been on skates. Each time she fell she pulled herself back up with help from her mother or a nearby skater and on she went with complete faith! I began to pray and bargain with God to help me to do the same.

Still disappointed in myself, I looked over at my 7-year-old nephew Colin who was skating nearby and noticed his complete joy and his skating posture. His knees were bent inward, which helped the blades to cut the ice. “That’s it!” I said to myself. I realized I needed to change my stance and my focus, let go of my fear and embrace this new experience with confidence. Not an easy task, but I slowly began to accept my new challenge.

I also began to see the parallels between learning to skate and learning to live my “new normal” without Dad. Denial only protected me for so long; eventually I had to reach out for help and hold onto others who have walked this journey. I also had to let go of my fear and anger, embrace my depression, and have faith that God is closest to me in my darkness. Bargaining with God turned into trusting God that His love would show me the way. Gradually I was able to accept this new experience with humility and grace, knowing now that starting a “new normal” is emotionally challenging, but with courage and support, can eventually bring new joys, new beginnings, a new life!

Donna Liu,
The Center for Pastoral Counseling

“Family Matters” is a community service presented by The Center for Pastoral Counseling.
For further information call CPC at 610-544-1400, ext. 308.

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