Do you remember the day that you first learned to ride a bike?
Recently my grandson ditched his training wheels and is now pedaling with joy and growing confidence. My daughter said that the day after he had accomplished this two-wheel triumph he made the stunning realization that, in his words, “My training wheels are still off!”
My husband and I took advantage of the moment to remember what it felt like to ride a bike for the first time. We remember falling a time or two…or three…but the more vivid memory is the rewarding feeling of freedom and success.
There are plenty of “firsts” in a child’s life, but I wonder if riding a bike is a particularly meaningful one.
Perhaps it is an important step toward conquering fear. At least in my grandson’s case fear was a factor, for he hung on to those training wheels a bit longer than we thought was necessary. He was cautious, but he overcame it and succeeded.
There have been fears that I’ve had to overcome, and I suspect there are far more that I have not yet confronted. Driving a car, starting a new job, graduating from college, marriage, and raising children, are all major milestones in life. I remember feeling a little nervous over those events, but definitely more excited than fearful. However, big roller coasters, sky-diving, and bungee jumping are in a different category all together. I will not be facing those fears any time soon. If ever.
I’ve never been afraid of riding my bike, but maybe I should be. I fell off of my bike last weekend. A beautiful Saturday morning seemed like the perfect opportunity for my husband and I to ride our bikes to the library (to pick up the latest Louise Penny novel) and then stop at the farmers market for some fresh tomatoes and corn. We accomplished both of those errands, and were on our way home when for some baffling reason my front tire bumped into my husbands back tire. I wiped out.
My husband says he needs to teach me how to fall. I am very thankful for bicycle helmets and for escaping with a few bruises and scraped knees. I’ll ride again.
These two bike related incidents remind me that our fears usually have some basis in reality. I have fallen only a handful of times in all the years I have been riding, but it does happen. It’s painful. Sometimes the new job doesn’t work out or the children are difficult. It’s painful.
Fear is about avoiding pain.
Fear is an appropriate response to a dangerous situation, but it can also imprison us in a pain-free zone of our own making. To totally ignore fear would be foolish, but to give it too much room in our lives is just as silly. There is no avoiding pain in this life.
The good news is that God uses our pain to teach and grow us. If we fear God, then he will decide what pain touches our lives and he will use it for our good.
I wish my grandson many joyous hours on his bike.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
Do you remember learning to ride a bike? Are there any fears that you have not yet faced?