Now that the snow has melted, people have been coming up to me, curious about the experience I had while biking through the winter. In a few sentences I explain the basics: it was challenging, but I learned so much about myself, felt God’s presence in amazing ways and that biking through a heavy snowstorm is one of the best things ever. After I finish my little spiel, the standard reaction I get is a laugh and then either one of two things, “Well, I glad you had fun and stayed safe!” or “You are crazy!” (Or a combination of the two.) And then we move on in the conversation and that is that.
But one night I was talking to a guy that my family has known for many years; I respect him and his wife immensely. The topic of winter biking came up but after I had finished explaining that it had been awesome, something strange happened. He didn’t laugh and he didn’t move the conversation to a different topic. Instead he nodded encouragingly, so I plunged in to tell a few more details. Then he started asking me questions, so I told him how in the heaviest snowstorms I felt the presence of God closer than I ever had in my life. I also mentioned that I experienced God’s joy and delight filling me while I plunged through the majesty and wonder of the snow.
“When you do something and you feel God’s delight in you, it doesn’t matter how crazy people think you are, does it?” He asked gently. He then went on tell me of times in his own life when felt God’s joy mingling with his. But it didn’t stop there. He told me stories of Christians that he either knew or had read about who had done crazy things for the glory of God.
During the rest of conversation, he told me to not be afraid to live life differently, but to embrace whatever path God leads me down. I can’t even describe how his words made me feel. While most people are slightly shocked that I would live car free and bike in the winter, he encouraged me that this could be just the beginning. He told me to go all out and do crazy things with God and for the glory of God. “Keep on biking and keep on following God.”
It was one of the most encouraging conversations I have ever had in my life.
I was out on my bike when this same friend happened to see me on the road. He paused while he was passing me to ask if I wanted a ride. Now you must understand that since I live in a small, helpful community, I have been asked that question many times by acquaintances and strangers alike. People have asked so frequently that as soon as I hear a car slow down beside me, my response is already on the tip of my tongue.
“I’m good, thank you!”
At this point I am so programmed to say, “I’m good, thank you!” that I sincerely believe that I would blurt out exactly that, without regard to the actual comment.
“Hey, the bag fell off your bike!” (I’m good, thank you!)
“There is a tornado behind you!” (I’m good, thank you!)
Did you know that a bull is chasing you?” (I’m good, thank you!)
So when he pulled beside me and asked if I wanted a ride my response was quite predictably, “I’m good, thank you!” After he pulled ahead, his tone and body language clicked in my mind. The guy hadn’t really been offering me a ride at all! He knew I was perfectly happy on my two wheels. He knew that I didn’t need the help of a motorized vehicle to arrive at my destination. In fact, he may have even been slightly jealous that he wasn’t the one out on a bike ride.
It is a wonderful thing that people care enough about me to stop and offer me a ride.
But do you know what is even more wonderful?
When someone cares and understands me enough to sarcastically offer me a ride.