Four of us never made it.
Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? If you’re one of the ones left behind, it is dramatic.
Let me back up the boat a bit. Our extended family was going for a bike ride in the Rockies. We’d planned it, thought about it, anticipated it. Two hours of peddling up steep inclines and coasting down sweet descents. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, lakes and greenery that would have Crayola bamboozled trying to come up with enough color names.
About a mile into the ride, three bikers riding abreast were coming at us. They saw us, and we thought they’d move to their own side.
It’s the biker thing to do.
In rapid succession, our group pulled to the side, braking quickly. It looked like a bad dance move. With bikes.
Everyone was able to stop safely. Almost everyone remained upright.
She braked with both the front and back brakes. Not smooth. Abrupt.
And she went over the top of her handlebars.
She used her left hand to brace her fall, hitting her head as she went down. (Am I grateful for helmets!)
My daughter’s a tough cookie. She couldn’t help but cry, but she was determined to go on. She pushed her bike and met with resistance. One of the guys adjusted her gears, and everyone seemed good to go.
No one bothered trying to ride her bike.
Tiffany got on, pushed off, and frowned a bit.
And kept going. Her arm cradled in front of her.
We urged the others to go on. I stayed back with Tiffany, her husband Ramsay and my youngest, Debbie.
We were going really slowly. Something wasn’t right.
The rain was coming down with more enthusiasm. Cold was beginning to bite at our bones. And Tiffany, ever the trooper, finally agreed to let Ramsay race ahead to the rest of our group to get the keys to the car. We needed help.
We watched him ride off, faster than he should have ridden, in the rain and slick and cold.
He had no coat.
We waited. Shivering. And Tiffany finally admitted how badly her arm hurt. The tears came, unbidden.
When I tried to push Tiffany’s bike, I realized she wasn’t just battling a bad arm. Her bike was broken. She was working against pain and brokenness.
So we waited in silence. And I found I was deeply affected by the sense of being left behind, even though we’d urged everyone to go ahead. In the cold and rain, not knowing exactly where we were, it felt lonely.
I was impressed with my youngest, who decided to forgo the bike ride to stay with her sister. An act of kindness and love.
The same response Jesus has towards His own.
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13;5b
No matter how great my pain or brokenness, no matter how dark my circumstances, Jesus promises to stay faithful. To be present. Always with me. Never abandoning me.
No matter how great my feelings of aloneness.
(She did break her elbow.)