Surrounding my desk (besides swirling mounds of paperwork!) are the handwritten notes, cards, and sketches that I have received with a thankful heart from street-involved friends over the years. Some make me chuckle (like the cartoon portrait sketch of me with a Spock-like eyebrow raised!), while others offer profound insights on how “to live by the Spirit” (scrawled on a yellow post-it note) or put on the “Spiritual Armor of God” (which came in the form of a torn-out page from a daily devotional).
I cherish each and every one of them.
These small tokens are not only reminders of the unique talents resident in our street friends, but of the incredible font of wisdom that exists in so many. Today, I am drawn to an allegorical story posted on my cubicle wall called, “The Bike Ride.” Gina, a street-engaged friend struggling with sobriety, had been greatly encouraged by this story. It had taught her, she said, to trust in God, even when the road got rough. She told me she wished to bless me with it…and so I was.
In the same spirit of generosity demonstrated by Gina, I pass this story onto you in the hope that you will be just as encouraged, wherever you may be on your own ‘bike ride’:
At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited Heaven or Hell when I die. He was out there sort of like the President. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn’t really know Him.
But later on when I recognized my Higher Power, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride; but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that God was in the back helping me pedal. I don’t know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since . . . life with my Higher Power, that is. God makes life exciting.
When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, “Pedal!”
I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are You taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure; and when I’d say, “I’m scared, ” He’d lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey; our journey, God’s and mine.
And we were off again. He said, “Give the gifts away. They’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.
I did not trust Him at first, in control of my life. I thought he’d wreck it. But He knew bike secrets, knew how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high places filled with rocks, fly to shorten scary passages.
And I’m learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, my Higher Power.
And when I’m sure I can’t do any more, He just smiles and says, “PEDAL!”