Wednesday

Jesus, Take the Wheel

originally in Abilene Families

In a soaking wet shirt and thinking words not printable in a family magazine, the little voice behind me startled me, then made me smile.

On a recent family vacation to the coast I tried to keep up with my exercise routine even in the oppressive humidity. Out for a run, my clothes looked as if I had already taken a dip in the ocean and I struggled for every breath leaving my brain with just enough oxygen to allow me to loathe every step, the state I was in, and the very idea of fitness and exercise.

I only had one earphone in so that I could listen for traffic that I was sure was out to run me over. I heard the bike approaching me, and moved over to make room. As it passed, I heard a very tiny, “Hi...”
The bike wasn’t quite a tandem, but had a trailer bike -- a smaller bike attached to the full-sized bike. A man who I assumed to be the dad was pedaling the larger bike, while a young boy about four years old was riding along on his trailer bike. He had a helmet that obscured his eyebrows and threatened to completely camouflage his eyes, causing him to tilt his head up as he passed, waving an awkward wave and grinning after he had spoken his greeting to me.

Drowning as I was in the humidity, I still had to smile at the mini-cyclist and appreciate his friendly salutation and wave. Watching him pedal away, happily taking in the sights while his dad navigated the trail, I realized that seeing him had lightened my mood considerably.

Perhaps simply as a result of my oxygen deprived state, I began to wonder if I would be so happy with someone else pedaling my bicycle, simply enjoying the journey and taking in the sights.

My thoughts tumbled forward to the beginning of school when I have my calendar perfectly color coordinated with each child’s sports and activities, fundraising deadlines, PTA and youth group events. I will plan a menu according to the busy factor of each evening, and grocery shop accordingly. I will approach my fall schedule with bravado and gusto.

Until... life will happen. Someone will get sick. A tire will go flat. An assignment will be forgotten/ take longer than expected/ be due sooner than originally thought. My little bicycle ride will not go the direction I think it should be going. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Perhaps life will even throw a huge kink in my plans: major health issues, unemployment, big life crises.

I can choose. I can choose to throw a royal toddler-style tantrum, complete with tears, shouting at those around me, spewing my misery to any and all within reach. Or I can find a way to enjoy the journey, noticing those around me that are making my way easier, those that may need my help even in the midst of my crisis, or those that encourage me along the way.

Maybe, just maybe, with helmet askew and an awkward wave, I can make a middle-aged mom’s day and let her forget for half a second how much she hates running.

1 comment:

Roxanne said...

I loved your article, HOWEVER I take umbrage to your use of the term "middle-aged" in (seeming) reference to yourself. Seeing as how I am one month and 15 days before you.

 
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