The highlight of my weekend came on Friday afternoon. Seeing a twenty minute window with no responsibilities, I suggested to my son, Zion, that we do a quick bike riding lesson.
Zion just turned 7. We don’t live in a very bike-friendly street, learning to ride has never been a big priority, but we’re about to go on vacation and bikes are going to be a big part of that. I didn’t want him to have to be lagging behind on training wheels.
I’ve been getting gradually better at teaching my kids to ride bike. Jackson learned in 3 lessons. Grayson, in 2 lessons on the same day. Zion, however, broke all records. I ran alongside him on the first attempt until he outpaced me (this took all of 15 feet!). With no drama or weaving, he took off down our oak-lined street, pedaling with all his might. There was no learning curve, it was more of a 90 degree turn.
The next twenty minutes were spent standing in the street watching for the occasional car and cheering for him as he zoomed back and forth with a huge grin plastered to his face. On the tenth trip down the street, It happened. It, of course, being his inaugural wipe out. The handlebars got a little squirrelly and before he could get on the brake, the bike jerked back and forth until it tossed him off to the side.
Zion landed hard but was up before I could yell “are you ok?”. When I finally shout down the street to him, he yelled back “Yep, I’m ok!”. I was relieved. He grabbed his bike and rode past the three houses that separated us. When he pulled into our driveway, he hopped off and examined his knee, which I could now see was bleeding.
“I thought you said you were ok!” I said.
With the slightest roll of his eyes, Zion deadpanned “Just because you’re okay doesn’t mean you didn’t get hurt.”
This is the most profound thought I’ve heard in a long time. At seven years old, Zion has figured out that you can get hurt and live to ride again. Getting hurt doesn’t have to define the experience, even if it was a part of it.
All this, of course, reminds me of this fast we’re all on.
The first week, I was ridiculously grumpy with my family. I found myself mulling over wrongs I’ve suffered and how people had mistreated me over the years. I had an unnatural, unhealthy preoccupation with offense and my family was paying the price.
I apologized to Kelsey, secretly hoping for a little sympathy. I said “You know....the fast an all.”
“Yes, I know,” she responded. “When we fast, what is inside just comes to the top. It’s part of fasting.”
Uh, this is not helping me. Tell me I’m suffering for Jesus. Tell me that it’s ok. Tell me to go binge on burgers, for crying out loud, but don’t tell me that I’m grumpy and resentful on this fast because deep down, I’m grumpy and resentful.
Truth be told (and trust me, the truth WILL be told), I had stuffed a couple of offenses pretty deep and now, in my weakened state, I couldn’t hide it as well. Having been hurt, it was defining my behavior - even my perception of reality.
Over the weekend, I’ve been asking God to soften my heart and tear up the clods of resentment and pain...and I’ve been thanking Him for this fast. In my own comfort, I might have lived this way a lot longer. I’ve been hurt, perhaps even legitimately wronged...but I’m not going to live in it anymore. I’m going to be OK.
Zion’s right. Just because you’re OK doesn’t mean you didn’t get hurt. It just means you got up and pedaled away, determined not to have your experience defined by a skinned knee.
NOTE: Some time ago, I started blogging for Luke18 Project. Kelsey pointed out recently that most of my best stuff was landing there, even though most of my readers had not migrated over to check it out. She convinced me that cross posting was not the grievous sin that I imagined it to be, so I'll be posting some things in both places.
This is the latest in a series there regarding the 40 day fast we're on.
If you read this blog primarily for my commentary on things like youth groups giving away firearms and Zoe's latest antics, that will still be posted here as well. :) You can read the earlier ten posts of the series at my archives on the Luke18 site.