Lessons From the Bike

ImageIt’s been a long winter. I didn’t get a chance to ride as much as I wanted to. (Unlike some of my friends, I’m a wimp when it comes to snow and ice.) But on my ride today, I started noticing flowers. Tulips surrounded the base of several mailboxes and dandelions dotted the park. The smell of blossoms on the trees intoxicated my senses and made me absolutely giddy to be on my bike. No matter how long the winter, it always gives way to spring.

And while it is true that winter gives way to spring, it is also true that spring, summer and fall will eventually give way to another winter. But I can’t think about that now, not in the midst of spring, not with flowers dotting the grass and trees casting their blossoms in front of me. If I think about that now, it robs today of its joy. During spring, it is time to live in the present and focus on the glorious feel of my legs as they push the peddles, the wind in my hair as I scream down a hill, the tiredness that feels so good when I get off the bike. Live in the present. I can live in the future when it is winter when it might be best to not focus on the present and instead know that no matter how cold it is, spring will eventually come.

It’s a matter of balance, this living in the present and looking toward the future.

In the past month, I’ve had some things happen that have left a winter coldness in my heart. I’ve been depressed, angry at God, lashing out at friends to try to assuage the pain, punching out at life as though I could knock it out. I’ve raged at friends but maintained a chilly silence with God. And yet, winter gives way to spring.

Albert Camus in The Stranger said, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back.”

Here I am in this present moment. I am pushing back.

Good thing I rode my bike hard today. Snow is coming tomorrow.

Advertisements

Redeeming Brokenness

Read the story of The Broken Pot here. It will open in a new window so that you can easily find your way back here.

I love this modern-day parable, because man, oh man, do I feel like a broken pot. Some of my flaws are evident to anyone who knows me. Some are deeply hidden. I’m sure there are some that only God sees.

What this story exemplifies, and what I believe to the core of my being, is that God uses our flaws in ways that perfect people can’t be used. I am able to say “I know what you mean,” and really know what they mean. I have lusted in the dark hours of the morning. I have murdered in my heart and never felt a moment of regret. I have stolen. I have coveted. I have gossiped. I have been lazy. I have fed a sanctimonious soul with the food of “At least I haven’t done that.”

All of that enables me to go to my neighbor, my friend–even at times my enemy–and say, “I know what you mean.” Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. Forgive us our trespasses. Forgive me. Forgive my trespasses.

And please, God, use them. Use my trespasses to Your glory. Use them to water flowers for Your glory. Use them to help ease the path for someone else, so that they don’t feel so god-forsaken and all alone.

Help me to discover what You’ve known all along–that Your strength is made perfect and complete by my brokenness. You are the Redeemer.