“Anyone wanna bike around the island?” It was 10 pm and just about total darkness on Northern Michigan’s Mackinaw Island. Only three of us decided to venture out. My son, Andre, and his wife, Jennifer, and me. We had rented two tandem bikes, so off we went; Andre and Jennifer on their tandem bike and me on mine. The only ones on the road.
It was dark, especially on the south side of the island where we went through thick forests. We sang campfire songs and hymns at the top of our lungs as we pedaled faster. Faster. I noticed that my bike was challenging to pedal. Yes, I was on a tandem bike and I was the only one pedaling but that shouldn’t cause it to be so strenuous. I pedaled on….pushing….pushing. Sweating. Singing.
The road opened up to the swishing sound of water and the starry night sky as we made our way around the other side of the island. The three of us were quiet now. I was huffing and puffing and my biking buddies seemed to be gliding along. Was I really that out of shape? How much did this tandem bike weigh? Had I rented a clunker? Should it really be that challenging to bike a tandem bike solo? I wished my husband had decided to come too.
So, I wiped off the sweat from my brow and pedaled harder. Harder. With my head down, I determined to keep up. Not give up. Nope, I wasn’t going to get off my bike and walk the rest of the way. Biking around the island is only a little over eight miles and we had already done four. This should be a piece of cake!
Those last four miles were grueling for me. The first glimpse of lights in the distance as we rounded the last corner gave me the last bit of adrenalin that I needed to pedal to the finish. We pulled up to the bike rack by the Inn and I slid off my seat, smiling. Glad to be done! My son, Andre walked over to me and gave me a big hug — “That was a really cool thing we just did, Mom.” I agreed and shared, “I don’t know why it was such a struggle to pedal that tandem bike.” Andre glanced over at my bike and said, “Mom, you have a huge flat tire on that bike!” And sure enough, the back tire was completely flat. Mile by mile I had pushed and pedaled so hard and never once had I considered that it was so strenuous because of a flat tire.
So, I learned a lesson: Check the air pressure in tires before heading out in darkness on a bike ride. But there is more. There is a spiritual lesson here too. Do I check my spiritual tires each morning? Am I filled with God’s presence as I embark on my day’s tasks and decisions? Have I asked God to fill me with love and patience and kindness for all those whom I come in contact with during the day? This then is my prayer: O Lord, fill me this morning with Your goodness and Your mercy. Come with me on this new day of life and may I move forward through the entirety of this day with grace and love.