Thursday, June 21, 2012

Riding the Trail

Where have I been!  I cannot believe it's been three months since I have written!  I attribute my absence to a number of things: 1- I got a part time job. 2- I vacationed in Hawaii. 3- I'm now writing a daily scripture blog 4- I'm also writing my first fiction novel 5- I've got three kids 6- My house is a mess!

It's been pretty crazy around here.  But, I miss this blog. I miss the thinking, the writing, the learning. So, here I am. I'm back (not that I expect a celebration in my honor, but I'd take a celebratory Hazzah! from anyone reading, lol)

Anyhoo-  on to my post for the day.

My new love is cycling.  My favorite place to ride is a trail a few miles from my house.  It's fairly flat, and oh, so beautiful!

Recently I coerced a friend of mine to ride with.  We parked our cars and started the 7.5 miles to the turn-around.  She hadn't ridden in a long while- and certainly nothing like this. We started our ride, happy and optimistic. We chatted and laughed as we rode by the rolling river and green trees.

Then it started to hit her: She peddled and panted, her chant switching from "I can do this, I can do this," to "Michelle, I can't do this." She expressed embarrassment and frustration. I encouraged her along. She huffed and puffed (and yes, whined some, too) but after an hour and nine minutes, she made it to the top of the trail.

Now, I call it the top of the trail because for that 7.5 miles we rode up 500 feet.  Spread over nearly 8 miles, the incline was barely perceptible.

We sat at the top and rested. I reassured her that the way down would be much easier. She wasn't sure how. To her, the trail had appeared nearly flat. To her, she struggled not with the elements, but with herself. She expressed discouragement- but was determined to finish.

We hopped back on our backs and headed down the 7.5 miles to our car. The change in her was immediate.  "You were right, this is easier!" she exclaimed. As we rode, she repeatedly commented on how much easier it was, how much faster she was riding, and how much more she was enjoying the ride.  "I can do this!" was all I heard from her on the way down. We made it back to the car in 45 minutes. I was so proud of her!

On the way home we talked about our ride. Because the incline was so gradual it was difficult to see as we rode alone.  She felt it, but she couldn't see it. All she knew is that she was riding- and she was struggling. She felt down, out of shape and discouraged.

It was only until we rode down the trail that she realized the toll the nearly imperceptible incline had required.

We talked about how life is that way.

Sometimes in life we find ourselves struggling. We feel weak, tired, discouraged.  We look around and see no major catastrophes, no life-or-death situations. We see no major external cause for our struggle, so we blame ourselves. 

What we fail to realize is this: Aside from a hill here and there, our lives are a steady incline of choices and circumstances and growth.  The incline  can be barely perceptible- but it is there, it requires more effort than we realize to keep going. We peddle everyday to keep up with the demands of life, then wonder why  we are so tired. We feel flawed, weak and (spiritually, emotionally, physically) out of shape.

So, here's the bottom line: If you are struggling with life- just plain old life- don't get discouraged. It's normal to have moments of disappointment and discomfort; even fatigue and pain.  

We should expect it. We are peddling uphill- exerting a sustained effort to care for ourselves and others; taking care of our responsibilities and tending to our our own needs.

So, when you get a little tired or discouraged, give yourself a break. The road can be tough to ride, even when it appears flat.You are not as weak we you feel, you are not as flawed as you believe. Like my riding friend, you are stronger than you realize. You are better than you give yourself credit for. 

Take heart. Huff and puff, complain a bit to a friend (eat some ice cream), then keep peddling.

God knows that life is hard, so He, in His infinite wisdom, gives us moments of reprieve on our trails. There are times in our life where we feel like we are coasting downhill, doing just great.  Embrace those. Use them to catch your breath, get your legs back.

He gives us times when we can stop and take a break from the ride.  Take advantage of this precious times (vacations, new babies, good news, whatever they may look like).

No matter where you are on your trail, always remember to see the beauty around you.

And most importantly, remember where your destination. If you move towards God and your potential with a purpose, not peddling will be in vain. The effort will be worth it, because you will arrive at something more beautiful and vast than you could imagine.

And don't forget- even amidst the pants and puffs, the sore legs and seat- you can still enjoy the ride. :)


  1. Huzzah! From me. I stalk your other blog but I don't comment really - this blog I absolutely love. It's always SO insightful and I love allegories. A lot. Even though I am a math nerd.

    I really appreciated this post because I have very rarely had significant trials in my life (2010 was a notable exception) and I often get worn out and blame it on myself. I am going to keep this allegory in mind. Thanks!!

    1. Thanks so much, Becca! Your words are so kind! I've never had a stalker before! Lol! My life has been the same way- not a lot of hills, but definitely a steady and constant incline!

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