Don’t Fall Through the Ice


Photo Caption: theme bad weather in winter, thawing in spring, poor snow removal work for urban utilities. Danger of injury falling, slipping on ice and getting injured. Caucasian couple laugh joy slide on square.

The risk of doing nothing is far greater than doing something…

It was a cold, wind-swept night in Minnesota. I was a freshman in high school. My two older brothers had organized a “party” that night with 10 of their closest friends. OK, to be clear, it was a “kegger.” The truth is, I have never been much of a drinker, but I have always loved people. When they said “party,” I was in.

We set out for a nearby lake to join the party. As we approached, I could see the party was already underway. Six cars were parked in a wide circle around a substantial blazing bond fire.

As the party developed and the alcohol kicked in, Mike, one of the partygoers, decided to have some creative fun with the gasoline used to start the fire. He was attempting to make a trail of fire leading away from the bond fire, out into the darkness of the night, where he had poured a larger pool of gas. It was great fun until the gas finally reached the bond fire.

In a flash, the fire traveled from the bond fire across Mike’s gasoline trench to the gas can. Flames were shooting out of the pour spout. In a panic, Mike set the can down and ran away as fast as he could, leaving behind this ticking time bomb he had just put in motion.

None of us knew for sure what would happen. It was possible that the gas can would explode without warning, yet we all stood there watching the flames shoot from the spout, doing nothing. What I did not tell you is that all of this took place on the ice, in the middle of the lake. Should the gas can explode, we were going to the bottom of the lake, cars and all. The cost of doing nothing was higher than taking action, yet we stood there frozen in fear.

People sometimes do the same thing. Even though they know there is a time bomb in their life, they watch it, hoping the situation will work itself out. The risk of doing nothing is far greater than doing something, yet they stand still, waiting to see if they fall through the ice.  What’s the answer? In a word, it’s action.

My brother ran towards the flaming can, picked it up, and did an Olympic hammer throw movement, spinning around 360 degrees and launching the can into the air as far as he could throw it. When the can hit the ice some twenty yards away, the can tipped over, and the fire went out.  I might not be telling this story if not for his courageous action. I am very grateful to my brother for his action that night.

When you are faced with a situation that could mean the end of your marriage or bring harm to your family, don’t just stand there waiting for the inevitable. Take action. Do something.

Take action and lead the way for those you love.

Teddy Roosevelt once said, “At times of great decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Don’t do nothing. Take action and lead the way for those you love. They will be grateful for your effort.

What situation do you have in your life now that needs your attention? Maybe you are not sure what to do. But doing something is better than doing nothing. Move toward the problem, not away from it. The proper action will usually present itself by moving toward the problem, and the potential time bomb will blow out instead of blowing up. However, it would help if you got close enough to the situation to understand what’s happening. When you do, and a solution appears, seemingly magically, know it’s not magic. It’s the power of taking action.

Since that night on the ice, I’ve lost track of Mike. I have always assumed he is serving jail time somewhere for arson. Mike, wherever you are, thanks for giving me a great life lesson in taking action.


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