“That’s why I don’t play, Nadia,” my husband said. I so badly wanted to roll my eyes, but he also made a valid point.

About an hour earlier, we were visiting Matt’s youngest brothers’ family. His family includes our only niece and one of our ten nephews. Our niece had me doing all sorts of yoga poses. Some of which I was a pro at. Others not so much. One move she loved was the split.

“Aunt Nadia, try the split again. See if you can get any lower,” she said.

I’ve never been able to do a split and especially unable at nearly 40 years old, but I tried. My inner thighs screamed, and my niece stated, “That’s really good. That’s better than last time.” Five minutes later, I hear, “Aunt Nadia, let’s try the split again.” Nope. Aunt Nadia is done with splits.

“Let’s do an obstacle course then,” she says as she lays out pillows like stepping stones.

“No, Norah, pillows are not a good idea,” her parents say.

She agrees and picks them up off the floor replacing them with books as stepping stones.

“Aunt Nadia, you have to jump over the books and land between them. Do you think you can do that.”

“Ok, ok. I’ll try,” I responded as I stood up in my socks with a rug under my feet.


Kaboom! My little to no padding ass slams onto the hardwood floor. All I feel is my tailbone radiating heat and my right ear ringing.

“Oh my, are you ok?” everyone exclaims.

“I’m fine. I’m ok,” I say as I struggle to get up.

“Yeah, maybe we shouldn’t play that anymore,” Norah, my sweet niece says.

I hobble with a throbbing tailbone to the sofa next to my husband.

The most obvious mistake was made. I was wearing socks. Socks and carpet create friction. Socks and hardwood floors do not. My sock covered feet jumped off the rug, over the book, and landed on hardwood floor – or tried to land but slipped out from under me instead.

“That’s why I do not play,” my husband said. Noted as I sat on an ice pack.

Life has a way of making us feel grounded one second and completely heedless the next. I suppose it’s one of God’s many ways of reminding us about humility.

So often, I choose safe ground to live my life upon. Safe ground is comfortable. I can trust safe ground – it’s stable and easier to navigate. As a matter of fact, I choose safe ground so often that I become robotic moving through life on auto pilot. It’s easier that way but it isn’t always safest even if it feels safe.

And why is safe ground so appealing? Because I’ve convinced myself safe means no pain, no suffering, no fear. This conviction of safety is a lie. In reality, I must know pain, suffering, and fear in order to know safety. There is no such thing as one without the other.

Twenty-four hours later, my tailbone still aches, but I don’t regret playing.

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