Lessons on Spinning and Battlefields from the State Fair (Brave Every Day)

My mind is younger than my body. A discovery I made about 5 seconds into the Tilt-a-Whirl. And 5 minutes after when I was still steadying my steps.

But it was the swings that brought a bigger lesson home.

Everything looks easier from the ground.

On terra firma, the seats above seem easy and breezy. A leisurely spin around the park. It’s not until your own feet are lifted that you notice the height — and the way the center pole rotates to create a dip and rise during the round and round.

I have Brene’ Brown to thank for introducing me to the Theodore Roosevelt speech that comes to mind as I circle high above the North Carolina State Fair.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Lessons Learned…

  • People, in general, are exceptionally good at masking their feeling. True understanding requires a different view and deeper questions.
  • What looks simple and ordinary from one perspective is really an act of bravery. Until you get in that position yourself, don’t expect to understand what another is experiencing.
  • It’s OK that other people don’t really understand my struggle. It looks different from where they are standing. Therefore, their thoughts on my battle should be filtered through the light of whether they are speaking to me from the mud of the arena floor or from the safety of the stands.
  • I’m deeply grateful for those who get dirty with me in both my strength and struggle.
  • I ask forgiveness from those I have shouted to from the ground while they do their flying through the air.
  • Even when you don’t really know just how fast the spinning is and how long its effects can last, it’s still more fun than not doing it at all.


brave-squareIn response to the 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be publishing EVERY DAY in October — reporting on ways I reach out to bravery in my everyday life. (See all posts to date HERE.) To be alerted to new posts, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter using the links on the right side of this page. Or Subscribe to get posts sent to your Email.


2 thoughts on “Lessons on Spinning and Battlefields from the State Fair (Brave Every Day)

  1. “It’s OK that other people don’t really understand my struggle. . . .”

    This has been a hard one for me. I have struggled with thinking i must somehow make people understand. and then if they understand, it will all be better. Truth is if they haven’t been there and are not vested in our relationship overall, they won’t go through the work of being with me in my struggle, accepting me for where I am. This is a relatively new “learn” for me.
    carol longenecker hiestand recently posted…“Drooping Tulips and Forgiveness”My Profile

  2. Sharon

    I can’t even look at those rides. They make me queasy from the ground! Great lessons that you brought out. Especially the thought that it’s far better to be in the arena than on the outside criticizing. It’s all a matter of perspective, and we just never know where another person has had to walk.


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