Yesterday was one of those days that rolls around every 15 or 20 years or so in North Carolina when the temperatures in February reach record highs. The recorded temperature yesterday for Boone was 69 degrees, surpassing by 7 degrees the 62 degree day recorded in 1991.
And being the bike rider and opportunist that I am, that kind of weather spoke loud and clear to me: “Take the afternoon off work and go for a long bike ride—you would be stupid if you didn’t.” So, I didn’t argue with this voice inside my head and after a quick lunch I cleaned up my bike and headed out with my buddy Glen to get a little fresh air and exercise.
If you have ever found some activity that totally pleases you what I am about to say will make a lot of sense. While riding I told Glen that it shouldn’t be this easy—finding pleasure in just riding—without a lot of attendant pain and so forth. Riding for me has become the sort of endeavor that requires little more from me than just showing up and getting into the saddle.
Yet it seems like it should be harder—more masochistic—that I should have to pay for my satisfaction with a pound of flesh and a high mortgage rate. Yet that could not be farther from the truth.
Yesterday we rode 30 miles and tackled one of the highest hills that we have ridden. Normally this would be something that we would do in April or May and having done it so early in the year is a promise for good things for the rest of 2008—bike-wise. And other than a little calf-cramp late in the day, the ride was pure pleasure.
It would be my hope at this point that you would have found something as rich and rewarding in your life as riding has become to me.
I am reminded of a verse in the book of Ecclesiastes that states:
3:12 I know that there is nothing better for them (read “us”) than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime;
3:13 Moreover, that every man who eats and drinks and sees good in all his labor–it is the gift of God.
What the writer is saying to me is that God is very interested in our lives and really has our best interests at heart. That if we enjoy an activity such as eating or riding or working, this feeling or understanding of that enjoyment comes from God as well. In other words, God has so framed our relationship to the world around us that in gaining pleasure from it is part of the dynamic built into our perception of its reality.
And that my friend is really a mouthful.
In all of this just voiced I am not implying that I am some super-spiritual being that basks in the joy of living 24/7. I have my hangups and am dysfunctional in my own specific ways. But I realize that we are all joined together by a silver thread that is used to stitch the pieces of this patch-work quilt called humanity. Whether African or Indian, Asian or Caucasian, we share in an adventure that can only be called “inspired”.
To see my ride as frivolous or unimportant is to devalue how much I really mean to God—to fully understand how much I am cared for is almost to much for me to comprehend.
This is the divine tension called “living” that we are faced with each and everyday.
Songs have been written about it—poems have attempted to give us insight into what it is all about.
But until you are fully into your ride, you will never know just how much it is you have been given to live and to rejoice in.
And that my friend is a ride and a wrap.