Just Like Buying A Bike

24 Oct

It’s been a while. The swirl of work and classtime and homework and errands and lunchtime runs and gym sessions and church and friends and just being in my lovely apartment. It is a busy time but I’m grateful. For every negative, there is a greater positive.

Long work hours – but I am respected, fulfilled, and, oddly enough, adored.

Long school hours – but the gears are turning, each day is another step closer to this degree, and my classmates are family.

Life is ebbs and flows. Like my romance with my bike. Months of persuasion to get me on a bike, to make me decide anything, maybe because I knew the right decision (fall in love with a bike) was juxtaposed with my wrong decision (falling in like with the wrong guy). It took a village, literally, but they got me on a bike. Not the one I bought even, but it was enough.

And it seems silly to say it was magic. But the freedom, the speed, the sense of joy, the childlike delight, the smooth gears, the fall suburbs, the dazzling challenge of hills. I fell hard. There was the hiccup (a helmet that wouldn’t lock) but the boy gave me his and secured it tightly, thumped it hard, and said “I can see the glint in your eyes. Attack the hills as hard and as fast as you want. I’ll be here when you get back and I’ll begin explaining the mechanisms of gear shifting.” And he let me go. Which made it easier when, months later, I had to go for good.

I now know why this memory keeps resurfacing. Why something I never thought about comes back in vivid detail. Because there has to be freedom and play in order to love. If you begin with the rules, you miss the mystery.

Later, I learned the mechanics. I spent hours getting fitted for the bike, the boy spent time yelling shifting signals, the first race, the first flat tire, the first greasing of the chain – so much to learn and digest.

If I had started with that, I think the love would ebb. But the feeling of that fall day – whipping wind, being freed to push my muscles to the max, the delight of everything aligning, laughing until I ached – stays with me. I want to learn the tricks of the trade to enhance my enjoyment, not to box me in.

Christian life should be the same. The “rules” (for lack of a better world. but let’s not turn rules into law) are important. They keep us safe, they help us grow, they provide boundaries.

But the love comes first and stays first. The joy and delight in knowing “the secret” has to be there and we can’t box it in or smother it with rules. And shame on us if we smother others with our rules. Love will crave order and growth and knowledge. If not, it’s not love.

The secret is simple.

We are pre-approved.

Once approved, the present and what happens in the future, no longer play into the approval decision. Actions have consequences, absolutely. There is right and wrong. But nothing changes the stamp of pre-approval.

A first bike ride, a subset, a new recipe, a good friend, a word of encouragement – they all shimmer and fade. But the stamp of preapproval, marked in blood, is here for good. What can we do but respond in love?

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5 Responses to “Just Like Buying A Bike”

  1. Amy October 25, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    This could possibly be my all-time-favorite post by you.

  2. Meg October 25, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    I agree with Amy.

  3. becky October 27, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    Good post Liz. Truly good.

  4. Susanna October 28, 2010 at 12:23 am #

    Very good post, Liz. Beautifully written.

  5. squintnclick November 16, 2010 at 3:05 am #

    So very well put! Wow!

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