Jackie Gingrich Cushman

It requires patience to know that learning is a process, and patience and persistence allow me to continue to practice so that, eventually, I will improve. Patience is important because, without patience, persistence can create additional frustration. That's what happened last time I tried skiing. I gave up before I had learned to ski.

This time, patience is leading to practice, and my skiing is improving. The more I ski, the better I get. While instructions and mentors help, in the end, if I want to get better, I have to ski more, to put in the time and the practice to improve.

Finally, the lesson of providence, the most important lesson. This is the lesson that teaches us to let go, to accept our own powerlessness, to open ourselves up to receiving and acknowledging God's blessing.

On the way in from the airport, we were stopped in a traffic jam caused by a serious accident. With no exit between us and the accident, there was nothing to do but wait for over two hours as the wreck was cleared.

We finally passed the scene of the accident, which involved a tractor-trailer and an SUV. The SUV was facing the wrong way and was crumpled in on one side. The tractor-trailer was on its side and unrecognizable. If we had been traveling just a minute or so faster, we could have been caught up in it.

Our first day on the slopes was unseasonably warm, allowing us to stand comfortably and listen to our teacher. It snowed the next day, which allowed us to go down the more advanced slope at a slightly slower -- and safer -- speed. Clearly, the weather was not under our control, but it proved helpful. However hard we might try to control a situation, in the end, much of what happens is beyond our ability to control. This is when we have to learn to let go.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.