It’s Just Like Riding a Bike
Well, friend…you will never…ever guess what I did today!?!
Ran a marathon? No.
Re-roofed our house? No.
But seriously…I drove a car!!
After four long months of spending 23 out of every 24 hours in a day flat on my back, thanks to my stinkin’ ol’ leaking spinal fluid…I have spent the last two weeks trying to be upright more. It hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been “fun”. In fact, it has flat worn me out. But I am so thankfull (see previous post) for how god has strengthened me more and more each and every day!
Isaiah 40:29 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
I have seen God live this verse out in my life over the last two weeks, for sure. Two weeks ago, I was praising him because I was able to fix my kids’ breakfast and do two loads of laundry, all within the same day. And today, just two weeks later, I drove our car! Waaahoooo!!!!
But, I gotta tell you, I was a little nervous about it. I mean, really, I can count on two hands the number of times I have driven a car in the last year, almost. And I have driven a car a whopping zero times in the last four months. So, I was thinking…”I will remember how to do this, right?” they say it is just like riding a bike…you don’t forget. Just start pedaling and it will come back to you. Well, today, friend…pedal, I did.
It’s funny though cause I felt like such a big, fat, dork. (I know, shocker!) But I was driving around and I felt like I had felt some 15 some odd (ish) years ago. Don’t you remember how it felt? That day…that amazing, glorious, beautiful day?? The day when, for the very first time, your parents let you take the car out without them? Ooohh, I remember. It was like I literally had wings. I remember driving around wishing with all my might that I would drive by every single person I ever knew. I wanted them all to see me. All of them. Especially the good looking boys. 🙂 C’mon I was 16…gimme a break.
And this morning, while I am clearly quite far from 16, I kinda felt like I maybe I wasn’t that far after all. I was be-bopping around my town with the biggest, dorkiest grin on my face and looking around at everyone at each stop light, like “Heeeyy yooou guuyyss….look I’m driving a car again! Waaahooooo!!!” I was so giddy I could hardly stand it. I just knew I was going to get a speeding ticket because I kept looking down and was joyfully (although inadvertently) stretching that speed limit by 7-9 mph. I didn’t though. Get a ticket, that is. Thank you, God, for that. Talk about a big bummer for my wonderful morning that would have been. Plus, I didn’t want to get grounded! 🙂
I even had the radio on KLTY, our local Christian radio station, which is where the dial generally stays put when I am driving. Generally. But, alas, it is December so they are playing all Christmas music all the time. Ugh. (that’s a subject for a whole different post, trust me) anyway, one of my favorite Christmas songs came on that reinforced my 16-year-old mentality I was experiencing at the time. It’s the good ol’ “Carol of the Bells”. You see, not sure if you knew this about me…but, I was in choir in high school. Now, let me be clear…I was not a choir stud. I always tease that I am a nice, solid, put me on the third row of a large choir-singer…don’t give me a solo, friend, or you’ll be sorry. At my high school, choir was kind of a big deal. And being in the top honor choir was even a bigger deal. I didn’t make it until my junior year, but once I did and once Christmastime came, I knew what that meant. I knew I’d be joining the years and years of Lakeview choir members who sang that traditional song each year.
So here I am, again, just a couple years later 🙂 and joyfully singing along to the radio “Hark how the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say, throw cares away. Diiiing, doooong, diiing dooong. Diiing, doong, diing, diiiing, doooooong.” The alto part wasn’t much to smile at. Kind of anti-climactic, really. But, still…when I heard it come on, I wondered if I’d remember it, soooo many years later. Once again…I guess it’s just like riding a bike. So, once again, pedal I did.
Then, as I was driving around, basking in my newfound freedom, the gas light came on in my car and I about jumped out of my seat! Cool! I gotta stop and get gas! Neat! I honestly can’t remember the last time I did that!?! Remember, once again, to your youthful days, when anywhere you got to drive was fine by you! My mom: “Hey, we have to go to the grocery store!” me: “Ok, mom, can I drive!?!” too funny. Anyway…on this fine morning, since I really had no actual “plan” as to where I was going on my big adventure, I made an executive decision that I would not only stop and get gas, but I’d stop and get donuts for the kids as well. Double fun!
I pulled into the gas station, and once again I’m smiling like a bafoon at everyone…thinking Can they tell? Does it show?…wondering if anyone else could tell that this was the first time I’d driven a car….been out in public…had my wings back on, if you will….in four months?!? If the huge, goofy grin didn’t show them, then they just probably thought I really liked putting gas in my car. And today, I totally did! 🙂 I had hoped I would remember how to do that too? I did stop and think…hmmm…which side of the car is the gas thingy on? Do I have my debit card? What is my pin #? How much gas should I get? I wonder if sweet Ryan would like a diet coke? Turns out I did remember how to do it all. I am a big girl. I can put gas in the car. I thought I may had forgotten. But, once again, friend, pedal, I did. But, as I did… I was filled with questions. And then, as I looked down at myself, I was filled with embarrassment. Ahhh man, I took inventory of myself and realized that I was still in my pajamas, yesterday’s makeup and funktified-slept-weird-on hair. Shoot! See, I hadn’t really planned on actually getting out anywhere, I was just going for a short drive. I looked like a cross between a homeless person and a starving college student who woke up too late for their biology final. (and yes, I have had these flannel pjs since I was that college student. Hey, don’t judge, they are beyond comfy!) I only hesitated for a minute, because I truly don’t struggle that much with worrying about what I’m wearing, my makeup, hair etc. Don’t believe me? Ask any of the fine people who saw me at the gas station or the donut shop today. They can vouch for me! 🙂
So, after a very quick trip in and out of the donut shop, I had the treats for the kids in hand. A pink donut for Benjamin, and chocolate twist for Jacob, and as many donut holes as I will allow sister friend to consume. She loves a lot of them. And while it is technically the same, she prefers to get five donut holes opposed to just one donut. I absolutely get that. She’s totally her mother’s daughter. God help us all. 🙂
So…now, I was completely wiped out after this huge excursion of mine. Very much ready to head home. And it had been about 20 minutes, so I was ready. I joyfully pointed my sweet 4runner, “Skip” (yes he has a name. All cars should have names. It is completely normal!) Due north and headed back to my wonderful home. I called my dearest friend and across the street neighbor as I turned onto our street, because I wanted to surprise her with the good news. I knew she would love to look out her front window and see me driving by. She has called me every single day for the last year to check on me. I mean it…there literally might have been like 6 days out of the last year that she has not called to see how I was doing. Talk about a devoted friend. And now God has made us neighbors. We call it our own little Romans 8:28. 🙂 Anyway…she was still snoozing, which I was so happy to hear, because she too has three little ones and deserves her rest every chance she gets. But her sweet hubby was happy to see me on my giddy drive by. And I was happy to be seen. Sooo happy.
I parked the car. Took a deep breath in and out. Thanked God for my safe trip. And hobbled inside, ready to crash and rest a bit. But, when I walked in the door…all three of my blessing kiddos were awake. Only baby girl was awake when I left. So, the boys ran to me saying “Mama!” but then they saw the distinct donut shop bag in my hands and their squeals turned to “Donuts!!”. Even Abigail, who had already technically had breakfast started squealing and dancing in place. Hilarious!! Benjamin, in true “joy boy” fashion hugged me and said “I missed you so much, Mama!” I love that boy.
And then my darling Jacob…my precious eldest child…who is so thoughtful, so methodical, so much like his Daddy. But oh, he is mine too…this boy wears the weight of the world on his baby sized six-year-old shoulders, and has been more affected by my year long struggle that I am wanting to be aware! He stopped right square in his tracks, because it hit him…and he stared up at me with the sweetest look I’ve seen in so long and said, “Mama, did you drive the car!?!” my eyes welled up and I answered happily “I sure did, buddy! Isn’t that awesome!!! Gimme five! Go Mama, right? Are you proud of me?!?” He smiled so big and said “Way to go! Yes I am, mama! Cool!” It was the most perfect welcome home. Just perfect.
And although I will spare you the details 🙂 I actually got to take a shower, too! Waaahhooooo!!! Right now you may be thinking to yourself…um, seriously? Please tell me that you have showered in the last four months. Although that would explain the smell. 🙂 he he. To be honest, I have not showered one solid time in the last four months. Not once. I have, however, taken many, many baths. Not being able to stand up means no showering. So, I have been forced to become a bath person, like it or not. But today, I got to shower. I kept it brief, but it was so cool. So very cool.
So, friend, I don’t know about you, but it has been a great day! A very, very great day! And I am just so happy to share it with you!!! I hope you are encouraged, even just a little, by my current ability to find joy in pumping gas into my car. You, too, can do this. Trust me…you do not have to go through what I have been through to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. God has blessed each one of us with a gift called today. I mean it. If you are breathing in and out right now (and I’m assuming that you are) then you, too, can be so happy for today.
And you, too, can pedal again. Maybe you think you have forgotten what it is like to….
Go to church?
Read your Bible?
Just. Feel. Happy?
No matter what it has been, friend, trust that God can restore you. Trust him. Trust that you, too, can enjoy yourself again. And your life again. It’s just like riding a bike, right? Just. Start. Pedaling, sweet friend. And know that our sweet God, who loves you more than you know is rejoicing over you… And riding right next to you…the whole way. Enjoy the ride, friend, enjoy the ride.
Zeph. 3:17 “The lord your god is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Romans 15:13 “May the god of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the holy spirit.”
1 Peter 5:10 “And the god of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you, and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.”
I am totally getting this. After my car accident, I was not able to drive for 9 long months. I remember the first time I was able to again, the bizarre, glorious “newness” of it. And all the other gains back toward independence along the way. I am so happy for you and am celebrating this day with you!!! :o)