It’s been a while since I went for a bike ride, but I know I’d have no problem pedaling and steering while enjoying the breeze. It’s like that with riding a bike, right? Just hop on and go. Once you know how, you never forget.
Except what happens if you recently fell and you’re riding with a broken arm and scabbed knees? It can be painful and scary, and you have to ask if the ride is worth it. That’s the best way I can describe how I feel 11 months after discovering my husband was having an affair, 10 months after he left me with a tiny sick (and absolutely beautiful) baby, 4 months after the divorce was finalized, and 1 month after my son’s third open heart surgery. I want so badly to choose happiness…to furiously pedal ahead without looking back and without the pains associated with falling off the bike.
The ride won’t be the same. Once you’ve fallen, you know the pain and the risks on more than a theoretical level. In a lot of ways, it makes choosing to get back on a tough choice. But there are knee pads, helmets, safer trails, and often times, more people to help you back up. There’s confidence and daring.
Let me just say that I don’t want to sound dramatic…my fall off the saddle was cushioned by my faith in God, love for my son, and support from loads of people. Yet sometimes I feel like I didn’t just break an arm and scratch my knees. I feel like I lost an eye and suffered a few cracked ribs too. So what if I lose my legs on the next fall? There are prosthetics…What if I suffer a concussion? I hope none of these things can injure my heart to the degree that it keeps me from getting back on and enjoying the ride. I hope when I help another person get back on the bike, we can pedal in the same direction towards joy.
I just wanted to take a moment to offer up an analogy for the challenges we all face when we’ve experienced loss and illness. We have to give ourselves time to heal…and that looks different for everyone. Some of us may not choose to get back on the bike ever again…maybe the injuries leave a damaged person more suited for staying stationary. But me? I pray I always want to go for another bike ride. I pray that no amount of damage will ever stop me from enjoying the breeze. I pray after each fall, I get back on and pedal even faster than before.