When you are feeling down and need to reset your mind and perspective, what do you do? Do you go out in nature, cook, garden, sew? What is it that frees your mind and helps you keep going? For me, it is riding my bike. Hiking, running, and other forms of exercise can do it as well, but getting on my bike and taking off with the wind in my hair just frees my soul.
But what happens when your “thing” hurts you instead of helps you? It’s devastating. I got on my bike this weekend, really needing some soul time. Up until I mounted my bike, the previous 48 hours had been emotionally draining and difficult. I knew getting on my bike would really help – just enjoying the spring weather and burning off the angst. Then it happened. Twelve miles into an easy ride, it felt like a knife was sticking into my knee. This was the same sensation I had just before I tore my quad and was benched for ten weeks last spring. I muscled through until I knew that I had to stop and ask for a ride home. I couldn’t risk that severe of an injury again. I couldn’t lose my fix.
As I walked my bike down the road, I remembered the glorious day off I had on my calendar for the next day–a ski trip with a dear friend. I’ve been waiting for this ski day for more than two years — and a rare Monday off work, as well. I felt another stab of pain, and though in denial, I knew at that moment I couldn’t go skiing. The tears began to fall. I spotted a lonely intersection on the frontage road up ahead and thought it looked like a good place to wait for my rescue. As I walked, I asked God some serious questions. Why? Why after such hard days did my “fix” need be taken from me, too? Why?
When I got to the intersection I found two hearts made with rocks — a little heart surrounded by a big heart. I sat by the hearts and cried.
The little heart was me, feeling small, broken, and stuck on the side of the road. And the big heart? Gifts from God –big enough to surround my life–surround it with people who would scrape me and my bike off the pavement. People who would give up their afternoon to listen to me. People who are more than happy to change ski plans just to be with me. People who give me a hug and just know without asking.
Funny how the hearts are always there when you need them. Funny how the “things” we think “fix” us aren’t actually the things that fix us at all.