Are We Too Old For Cartwheels?
May 2, 2020

Last summer I attended a leadership course for work.  I work for the U.S. Army and I spent 4 weeks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. One evening a fellow student and I went downtown Kansas City to see the traveling Stonehenge exhibit at Union Station.  We missed the exhibit but decided to wander around the World War I museum.  Outside in the warm summer air, we were waiting for the sunset and playing of taps.  As we looked out over the balcony,  we saw a family with two young daughters walking across the promenade.   Their youngest daughter, about 5 years old, started doing cartwheels all across the grassy lot as her parents strolled behind her in the warm summer evening.  

We smiled as we watched her carelessly tumble down the hill.  I looked at my friend and said 

“When did we stop doing cartwheels?”  

She smiled back and said “I don’t really know.” 

And then we both returned to watching the carefree girl tumble into the summer night. 

Why is it that we loose our love of tumbling across the yard?  When did we decide that life was too proper for us to roll down the side of a grassy hill?  

In Oklahoma, wheat is a staple of the Midwestern landscape, along with cows and pumping units.  For almost ten years, I served in the U.S. Air Force.  When I was on leave, I’d sometimes travel home during the summer.  One year I took my daughter to visit my grandmother.  She was not yet two years old.  As we drove down those familiar country roads,  I saw miles and miles of waving wheat.  The fields were filled with acres of  emerald green stocks, just waiting to be stolen.  I yearned to pull over to the side of the road, get my daughter out of the car and run recklessly into an unsuspected farmer’s field. Just so I could relive my youthful days and fall carelessly into the long, stocks as I sank down into the damp ground below.  I wanted to feel it wrap around me like a familiar blanket. Something about the lush green stocks beckoned me to return to my youthful days growing up in the country. 

But I didn’t.   I just kept driving.   We arrived safely at my grandmother’s house, but I always regretted not pulling over that day.  I should have stopped.  

So many moments of our lives are spent on regret.  Things we left unsaid.  Promises that were broken.   Moments where we should have danced in the rain instead of sitting safely under the pavilion.  There are so many moments that God says “Hey, did you see this beautiful world I created?  I would love to walk with you for a moment.” 

But we miss it.  Those moments fade and we return to the seemingly important deadlines of our life.  

Sometimes I wonder, where did my youthful spirit go?  Where is that girl who used to throw caution to the wind? I miss her…today.  I miss her joy and laughter and spunk.   So, I ask you, today, “When did we become too old to do cartwheels?”  I stopped doing cartwheels a long time ago. But why? Not because my body was too old, too stiff or too heavy. Or because I forgot how to do . Somewhere along life’s journey, I made the subconscious decision that cartwheels were something that little girls did.  And I stopped doing them. But man, I used to love doing cartwheels!

The next time you see a little girl doing cartwheels, maybe you can join her!  If your body is too tired or too heavy or too stiff, that’s OK!  If you are unable to tumble head over heals, that’s OK.  Just do it in your mind. Just take a moment to remember to throw caution to the wind, let the sunshine upon your face and throw your unsuspecting adult, caution-filled self headlong down the hill of life!  

All my love,