Have you heard about Pete Frates’ Ice Bucket Challenge? Well, if not, here’s the deal. Pete Frates is a former Boston College baseball player who is currently battling ALS. He’s in his late twenties, is a newlywed, and is soon to be a father. Recently, he issued a challenge, in order to raise awareness for ALS, for people to pour buckets of ice water over their heads, and then post the videos on social media platforms. Friends and family got in on the action, and then athletes, entire teams, celebrities, and perfect strangers lined up to do the same.
My husband and I watched a piece on ESPN, showing Frates’ inspirational story and then person after person dumping ice, cold water over their heads. I was so moved by the outpouring (literally) and show of support for Pete, and others like him, battling this currently incurable disease.
Looking at the range of expressions on each face as the cold water hit their heads, there was always a smile. Maybe not at first. Yes, at first, maybe it was a surprised look of shock, or a grimace at the icy sensation, but, in the end it was always replaced by a smile, a knowing, that life was bigger than themselves.
I thought about how appropriate that metaphor could be in each of our lives. Yes, there are moments in life we don’t see coming…good and bad. A promotion, an accident, a relationship, a diagnosis. In that moment when everything we thought we knew suddenly changes, it’s like the instant the ice water hits your warm head. It’s jarring, uncomfortable maybe. But, it can also be refreshing, invigorating, healing.
Don’t we each have “cold water” moments in our life? When our warm, comfortable lives get dumped on a little (or a lot)? What do we do with those moments of sudden change? Do we deny them, pretending the ice isn’t really that cold? Do we ignore our sopping wet heads, and keep on as if nothing’s different? Or do we acknowledge them, own them, and search for the joy that is sure to follow?
Let’s all just say, “Yes, my head is wet, and yes, I’m cold, but I’m okay with it. Even though this isn’t what I had planned, and feels very different from what I knew just a few moments ago, I’m determined to find the joy, the smile, the knowing, at the bottom of my bucket”.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” James 1:2
Have you experienced a “cold water” moment? Did you eventually find joy at the bottom of your bucket?