The metal contraption stared at me, daring me to conquer it. It stood about five feet high with metal feet supporting it. Two prongs came out of the side of the contraption and a green resistance band rested upon it. I had dreaded this hour all day, going through lunch and classes with a pit in my stomach. P.E. was my least favorite hour of the day.
Twenty-one girls gathered around the bar dip station watching the instructor demonstrate the proper form. While he lectured us on how to properly execute the movement, I stood half-listening, half-focused on plans for my upcoming evening. When he finally finished talking, I pushed my way through the pack of gray-shirted and pony-tailed girls to get to the bar dips.
My strategy? Get in and get out. Some little voice in the back of my head told me to listen for further instructions from my teacher. I muffled that voice with my own thoughts of unsupported confidence.
How hard could it be? I thought.
I stood up on the contraption, put my knees on the resistance band, and bent my elbows so my body would sink down. Then I straightened my arms and pushed my body up. Down. Up.
My arms suddenly started trembling, and I started to panic. I rushed to get off of the contraption, ignoring the words my teacher said in the background. I had to get out before—snap! As my knees left the green resistance band, it shot up to my face.
Tears came into my eyes involuntarily as the pain set in. I had been hit by a close-range, heavy-duty rubber band.
Disoriented, I tried to open my eyes to piece together what had happened. Only one eye would obey the command from my brain. The words my instructor had said finally registered in my brain, “Be careful not to let the band hit you when you get out of the dip station.”
I spent the rest of class trying to not move my face an inch, in fear of pain.
As soon as class was over, I rushed to the kitchen to put ice on my eye. I was hoping to reduce the swelling, but the next week-and-a-half would be a struggle for me.
The next morning was agony. I could barely stand to turn on the light in my dorm room. I showered with the lights off, and looked through my closet for something to wear with only one eye.
The swelling and pain, as a result of the slight tear in my cornea, made it the longest week-and-a-half of my freshman year of college.
Every time my eye was exposed to light, it sent a shooting pain through my entire head. It felt like my brain was being hit by lightning over and over again. It felt like my head was going to split from the pain. I even had a friend make me a makeshift eyepatch of gauze and tape to stop the pain that was caused by the bright November sun.
It seemed very fitting that the pain forced me to keep my eye closed after I had so willingly closed my mind to instruction.
I regretted not listening thoroughly to my teacher and ended up paying the consequences for it. I had had no previous experience with dips before, and even if I had, I still should have listened to the wisdom that my teacher gave.
Proverbs 15:32 says, “He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.”
Through my attitude and actions, I refused instruction that day in P.E. class. It cost me a great price; I spent the week in total discomfort. All of my pain and suffering could have been easily avoided if I had been open to the instruction and possible correction.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Multiple proverbs reinforce the importance of listening to wisdom and instruction, no matter who it comes from. P.E. taught me this valuable lesson.
Whatever you do—whether it is bar dips, learning how to drive, or listening to your teachers at school—make sure that you open your mind to instruction.