Jul 13

Life is like . . . .

bh-934248_1280. . . . riding a bicycle. Downhill. Sometimes things get rolling so fast that it feels like life is out of control. My summer has been like that, and I’m hoping I don’t crash into something!

One day, many years ago when I was a little girl, I was riding my bike. We lived by a lake and our house was at the top of a hill. It seemed like a really HUGE hill to me back then, and we loved to ride our bikes down that hill in the summer and sled down it in the winter.

The road that ran in front of our house ended in a turn-around not too far past our house, with an enormous old tree right in the middle of the road so you had to drive around the tree and head back the direction you came from. It was the kind of road where dogs frequently would take their afternoon nap right in the middle of the road, as if they were keeping guard and watching everyone who drove past our house.

We lived in the country, and not too many people drove down that road, so it was perfect for bike riding. It was also a great place for races, both on bikes and on foot. That’s what we did back in the day, on a hot summer afternoon, and since we didn’t have a clue about air conditioning back then, riding a bike really fast down a hill with the wind blowing through your hair was a great way to cool off.

At the bottom of the hill was a pathway that led to the beach where my Daddy kept his boat. My Mama told me, “NEVER, EVER go near the water!” She was terrified of the water, and it was a horrifying thought to her that I might step into the water down by the boat and sink into the mud at the bottom of the lake and never be seen or heard from again. Every day, all summer long, “NEVER, EVER go down by the water!”

So, one day I decided to ride my bike down the hill and – go by the water. Of course, what else would a little girl do with that kind of mystery and adventure waiting just down the hill? It was great fun tossing stones into the water, and taking sticks and whacking the water wondering if the turtles would come see us. Never actually went IN the water, but I was actually NEAR the water. And that’s when my Mama showed up.

With a willow switch. I knew I was in trouble when I saw her coming – well actually I heard her before I could even see her. I sure don’t remember the words that were flying at me, but man, that willow switch sure did sting the backs of my little legs. All the way up that hill, swack! Swack! Swack! Yelling and crying, and more Smack! Slap! Willow switches really sting a kid’s legs but they don’t do any harm. But I didn’t believe it at the time.

I don’t believe I ever went near the water again without my Mama right there beside me . . . . and then I could only go in the water up to my knees. That mud at the bottom of the like would suck up little girls in a hurry, so my Mama thought. But I did ride my bike down that hill many more times. Right on past that pathway to the lake where my Daddy kept his boat. That hill eventually taught me a lesson about life, as well.

Girls on bikes

Racing down that hill one day with my girlfriend Renee kept us occupied for most of a summer afternoon. When we got too hot for riding bikes, we would go in the back yard and play on the tire swing, or build a fort back in the woods. And then, back out to the bikes for one last race down the hill before supper.

As we went flying down the hill, laughing and trying to outrun one another, I looked backed to make sure I was going to reach the bottom first, and suddenly, as I looked behind me I swerved to the left – right into her bike, and we crashed in the middle of that hill. Handlebars, tires, spokes, and pedals were all a tangled mass of twisted metal, and there was blood on both of us girls.

Scraped up knees and elbows, fat lip, and a cut on my foot where I caught it between the pedals. I was a mess. We both were. But nothing was broken, except maybe my pride as I had been pretty sure I could maintain my neighborhood reputation as “Dynamite.” (That’s a story for another day!)

After my Mama patched up my bloody knees and elbows, put some ice on my swollen lip and a bandage on my foot, I think I must have been hungry. And tired. I don’t remember much of what happened afterwards, but I will never forget flying down the hill on my bicycle and crashing. That’s how life is sometimes. Faster and faster and faster, and then BOOM! We are suddenly confronted with a disaster or a catastrophe or a disappointment or a “wreck” of some sort. It is easy to decide never to ride a bike again. But that’s no fun!

God gives us opportunities to learn and grow, and sometimes crash into something, but we need to get back up, cuts, scrapes, bruises and all, and try again. Get back on that bike, learn from our mistakes, accidents, and wrecks and keep on moving. That’s the only way to begin to understand how God uses those seemingly disastrous events in our lives to make us stronger, and to turn those “crashes” into something beautiful, that will bring Him praise, honor, and glory.

Have you crashed recently? Fallen off your bicycle? Broken your arm, your leg, your pride or your heart? Get back up and ride again, and He will bind up your wounds and heal your hurts. Because life really is sometimes like riding a bicycle . . . . downhill . . . really fast!

Philippians 3 13 and 14*******************************************************************

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1 comment

  1. SallyAnn

    Hi Nina,

    I used to love to ride my bike down the hill below our house too, and taking spills, didn’t love that part OUCH! And I remember my Mom using a lilac bush switch on us a time or three. Yep that stings.

    Great post and message.


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