Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Speed bumps

School's back, and I love it. Mostly because I don't have to go! Nor do I have to get small people up the morning, get them dressed, and sit up with them doing homework. So it's easy for me in my sassy little childless state to romanticize the start of a new school year. I live really near an elementary school. One day I saw these 2 young boys riding his bike down our street. I was driving behind them (carefully of course!) and noticed that one of the kids maneuvered his bike carefully in the narrow flat space between the raised parts of the speed bumps. The other little boy aimed his bike straight at the speed bump and joyfully bounced over it. I got tickled and thought that was a great metaphor! (I'm a liberal arts kid....we see metaphors all the freakin' time.)

There have been many times that I've steered my bike carefully...too carefully perhaps to avoid the speed bumps. And I wonder what I've missed by doing that. Maybe I've missed a lot of heartache. Sometimes it's silly to aim your little bike right at some hurdle. But maybe I've missed some joy, some opportunity for growth some adventure.

Once in a while though I have aimed my little "bike" right at the speed bump full on, bounce! And ouch! But usually I can look back and say, "man that was worth the ride. Worth the bounce!"

I am not sure I would be a priest if I hadn't gotten filed for divorce. I'm not sure I'd be a good priest if I hadn't married my "current" husband. (OK I may not be a good priest even with Rob, but I know I'm better for having married him!) Leaving my home of 25 years and moving to Houston was one of the bigger speed bumps, and I still feel the bounce, still say "ouch" every so often, but man what a ride this is!

Actual speed bumps are meant to slow us down so we'll drive more safely. A good idea around schools for sure. Metaphorical speed bumps can sometimes slow us down, but more importantly I think they make us live intentionally. I don't know if struggle with this but I sort of "zone out" sometimes in my life. Just plug along. I know that's a luxury. If I were literally wondering where my next meal was coming from or wondering what the test results were going to reveal I wouldn't have this zone out luxury!

But these bumps in the road force me to pay closer attention, take some stock, be mindful of my next steps. And there is great blessing in that. I do not think God "arranges" speed bumps! Metaphorical or any other kind! I do think whether we try and avoid them or plow right over them God is there, guiding, cheering, sustaining. And if we take a tumble because the bump was slippery and high or we take a tumble because it turns out that little smooth part we thought would help us avoid the bump...wasn't a good idea at all, God is there too. Transforming all of our biking mishaps into something valuable and good. It is of course terribly hard to see that always.

Which is why it's so great to ride these metaphorical bikes with someone. I'm grateful for you my friends! I hope we can always ride these roads together. And whether we ride straight over the speed bumps or in between them, I ask God to hold us and accompany us on the journey.
Happy September! Rhoda