- Cathy Sweeney
The Bike Ride
I’ve begun riding my bike again.
What started out as a “let’s try it” challenge has become a bit of a necessity. We are down to one automobile at Sweeneys on the Creek, and with the church located a little more than a mile away, I’ve taken to biking there for work. It’s been nice to expand the riding to cover other short errands: grocery shopping, short deliveries. I even biked to a meeting a few miles away in a more corporate environment.
Yesterday was Friday, which is a typical self-care day for pastors. Many refer to it as their Sabbath day, and I try to do that as well. In the biblical context, Sabbath is derived from the Hebrew shabbath, or “day of rest.” What’s important, at least to me, in the Sabbath experience, is that the self-care includes intentional time with God. In that way, I can be a better pastor, wife, mother, daughter and friend for those who need me.
So I’ve begun riding my bike again.
And yesterday, I realized that Friday rides can be different than other days of the week.
Most days of the week, I ride the bike as a means of transportation to arrive at a destination. So I’m on a bit of a timetable. Yesterday, I had a package to mail, so I hopped on the bike and pedaled to the Post Office. The US Post Office isn’t far from the house, and the package wasn’t heavy, so I arrived there about 15 minutes into the ride. After dropping the bulky envelope in the mailbox, I maneuvered the bike to ride back home, but a quiet nudge stopped me.
In my experience, that nudge is called the Holy Spirit. Today, the Spirit asked, “What’s your hurry? It’s Friday, your Sabbath.” I looked around, and I saw many opportunities to expand my riding experience. So I pedaled on, away from the road that led to our house.
I saw young children playing outside, parents nearby, encouraging them, while watching for safety. I saw beautifully landscaped yards lined with colorful flowers, college flags flapping in the breeze with pride, and creative “WELCOME” signs that invited neighbors to sit by the fire pit on what will certainly be cooler nights soon. As I rode through the areas, I offered a quiet, “Thank you, God.”
I rode past familiar street signs – turned onto Chadwick Drive, remembering friends who have moved to McKinney. I prayed, “Thanks for the memories, and don’t be a stranger, kids.” I gave a quick nod as I passed Teakwood Drive, thinking of the fellow co-worker who was raised on that street by a loving mother, father, and brothers.
I slowed down and turned onto Magnolia Drive, thinking of two families. The first has moved within a stones throw of our house, and I see them often around the neighborhood. The other moved to be closer to family, after the husband and father lost his battle with cancer. I mouthed a speechless, “God be with you,” and rode away.
I stopped on the bridge and listened to what little water was moving in the creek, thinking of the farmers and ranchers who rely on that water to grow crops. Thinking what a difficult time they must have when the rain doesn’t arrive. I spent a moment in gratitude for all they do, to keep us fed, then I headed home. I had been on my ride for about an hour.
What a gift. What a precious gift, to have time to intentionally thank God for the beauty in our world. As I pulled into our driveway, I realized that my Sabbath time had been more intentional on this day. I listened to the little voice saying, “Don’t be in such a hurry. Not every bike ride has a destination as the purpose.” And that led me to open my eyes to all of the community around us, that which I can miss if I’m only riding to a destination.
How much we miss when we pedal to one point, then return by the same route. I’m grateful for the lesson on this, my day of rest.
So I’ll be riding my bike more often. Stop me for a chat if you have time.