This afternoon I set 45 minutes aside to go for a bike ride and, you need to know, I love cycling. I love the smell of the fresh country air. I love the sound of the tires rolling on the pavement. I love the feel of the gentle breeze on my face and the way cycling clears my mind and invigorates my body. Ever since I can remember, I have loved cycling.
Today was the perfect day for a ride too – a 45 minute window of opportunity, with blue sky shining, a gentle breeze and sweet smelling spring air. Simply perfect. In my mind I imagined a great ride, going hard, coming back home sweaty and hot, taking a shower, feeling refreshed and getting back to work. Sounds awesome. However, it didn’t work out as envisioned because 10 minutes into my ride my rear tire went flat. As a result I had to spend 10-15 minutes of my riding time fixing a flat. (I know, it shouldn’t take me this long but I’m a little rusty).
While fixing the flat I had to consciously decide how I was going to respond to this unforeseen event. Was I going to get upset and grudgingly fix the flat or was I going to roll with the punches and simply embrace the moment for what it was? Thankfully I can confess that today I was able to roll with the punches of life. This however does not make me a saint of any kind; after all, this was simply a flat tire which interrupted my ideal ride. But it did cause me to reflect on how much more enjoyable life can become if we are willing to allow the storms of life to pass through us rather than cling to the “negative” energy the winds can stir up.
When your model of the world – your belief of how the world should be – does not measure up to your every day life experiences, how do you respond? When your lover does not greet you with a passionate kiss, how do you feel? When your boss does not acknowledge you for all your hard work, how do you react? When your kids seem to take you for granted, or you don’t get that raise in pay you deserve, or you receive that unexpected bill, or life throws you a huge curve ball, what do you do? And as you take time to reflect, do you notice any patterns?
This whole flat tire episode for some odd reason reminds of the story of Jesus sleeping in a boat during a furious storm. His disciples (fancy word for students) were also in the boat with him during this squall and to put it mildly, they were freaking out. Hurricane force winds, waves crashing into the boat and the 12 disciples, driven by absolute fear, scream at Jesus to wake up and do something because they’re all about to die.
Earlier that day Jesus was teaching in his favorite classroom – the great outdoors. He was telling a story about a farmer sowing seeds, different kinds of soil and reaping a harvest, you know, possibly the kind of story that goes in one ear and out the other. Here’s the interesting thing: in Jesus’ story the quality of the harvest had nothing to do with the quality of the seed. The seed that was sown was good and it was the quality of the soil, not the seed, which determined whether or not a bountiful harvest was experienced. Do you remember the story of Death Valley by Ken Robinson? The seeds were always there below the surface waiting for the conditions of growth to come and when they came, Death Valley became a sea of vibrant growth and beauty.
Back to the boat, the disciples, blinded by fear triggered from the raging storm, turn to Jesus and cry out: “Save us, rescue us, do something because we are helpless against this furious squall!” Jesus awakes, calms the storm, turns to his students and says: “Do you still have no faith?”
When the unforeseen pressures of life came upon the 12 disciples they became overwhelmed with stress and fear and cried out to be rescued rather than ride the waves, embrace the unknown and discover where faith might lead them. Maybe the answers you and I seek when the hours turn dark are not found in something, or someone “out there” but in the good seeds already planted within us.
Imagine what might have happened if the disciples decided to ride the waves and venture into the storm with courageous hearts. Imagine the vibrant growth they might have witnessed rising up within.
Today I went for a bike ride and it turned into a story. The flat tire became a teaching moment for me, a moment for me to notice the beauty of the everyday unexpected moments. Perhaps this is how the ordinary becomes extraordinary. When we live in the present and receive every moment as it comes to us, the ordinary events of life become extraordinary, and life, our life, becomes fertile ground.
Life is one of our greatest teachers – are you willing to be its student?
Today’s Unitas Project:
- Today embrace and practice the art of non-judgement. Remember: God, Life, Love and the entire universe is for you, not against you. Whatever happens today simply is and it is your model of the world that stirs up the fears and reactions that hold you hostage. Therefore, I invite you to relax and let go because whatever you are experiencing today will pass if you allow the winds of life to blow through you.
- Take a moment today and read the story of the Sower, the Seed and the Storm found in the 4th chapter of the gospel of Mark. As well, read the story of Death Valley found in About Unitas Project. Reflect upon these stories and see what you see, feel what you feel and hear what you hear.
- Journal – recording your thoughts, feelings, and insights is always a good thing. It can also be a great way to let go.
Until next time…
Be You. Be Unitas.
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