Wrong way, Magellan.

I know its been three weeks in a row of parallels I’ve drawn between the bike trail and spiritual truth, but hey–when its there as plain as the nose on my face (and have you seen my nose?!?)–well, I’ve got to share it.

Okay, so you know I’ve started biking, you know I got a helmet, you know I’m prone to getting lost, yada, yada, yada.  In this week’s installment, I’ve upped the ante even more by becoming somewhat of a mountain biking missionary; or an ambassador at the very least.  I was in a recent conversation with a good friend we’ll call “Dicky” and ended up inviting him to come biking with us this past weekend.  Dicky was on the hunt for a new bike since he hadn’t ridden in 20+ years.  I told him not to worry about how long it had been since he’d been on a bike, because it’s like riding a bike; you never really forget how.

On the threshold of making that monumental purchase for himself, Dicky’s wife (who’ll remain nameless) reminded Dicky that he already has a bike and that it was hanging in the garage where it’s been for 20+ years.  A mountain bike, no less.  An ’89 Huffy, no less.  Steel frame, gears, and a classic 80’s speckled paint job no less.  So Dicky pulled it down from its perch, wiped off the dust, pumped up the tires and mounted the relic.  The next morning (the morning of our ride), he found the tires still inflated and the bike (albeit old) was ready to roar.

Dicky showed up at my house Saturday morning with his 80’s flashback ride hanging out the back of his van.  I hoisted it up on my bike rack and off we went with our friend “Todd” in-tow.  (You remember “Todd”, don’t you?)  We arrived at the trail a few minutes later and soon we were in the thick of our ride through the woods.

It didn’t take long for Dicky’s bike to start showing it’s age.  I kid you not–at one point we stopped because his handlebars were detaching from the frame.  Thankfully, Dicky had the foresight to put several wrenches in his backpack, which I think was also from the late 80’s.  With bars re-tightened, we were on our way.  Not soon after, “Todd” contacted “Martin” (you remember “Martin”, right?) and informed us that he (Todd) would be joining up with Martin on a nearby trail for a longer ride and consequently would be leaving Dicky and I alone.

Have you read my post about the last time Todd and I parted ways?

So after giving us what he was sure were crystal clear directions about how to find our way out, Todd disappeared into the distance and Dicky and I kept on rolling.  After several minutes of being “pretty sure” we were going the right way, I heard the sound of cars which told me we were getting closer to the parking lot.  That was good news.  However, after several more minutes of rolling along, the sound of cars seemed to disappear and I began to feel like we were indeed going in the wrong direction.  Bad news.

Oh, how right I was to think I was wrong.

Not only were we not getting closer to our intended destination, we were also heading the wrong way on a one-way trail.  Certain of our (my) mistake, I pulled off the narrow trail to rethink and regroup.  So there we were, me with my Schwinn and Dicky with his “iffy” Huffy and bag of wrenches, pointed the wrong direction next to a narrow bike trail.  Dicky–being the consummate hipster–had (thankfully) brought his iPhone with him.  Unfortunately for us however, it could only tell us where we were on the planet; not where we were on the trail.

As we stood there contemplating what to do, a few obviously avid & serious bikers came flying past us (in the right direction).  Decked out in spandex, expensive bikes gleaming in the morning sun, and without a hint of desire to stop and help us, they flew by in a whir.  Whoooosh.  It was a breathtaking display of disregard for our plight.

Not two minutes later a group of 3 bikers came (also going in the correct direction) and stopped next to us.  One of them had a GPS mounted on his handlebars, but his GPS app (called “MapMyRide”) not only showed that we were in Virginia, but EXACTLY where in Virginia and better yet: where in Pocahontas State Park we were.  They were glad to show us where we were on trail, how we got there, and how we could get out.  So thankful for their help, we bid them farewell, turned our bikes around to head in the right direction, and started pedaling.  Several minutes later after we arrived at an intersection of sorts, we were surprised to see these same 3 men waiting there.  Clearly they were more experienced bikers than we were.  Clearly they had the gear and the physiques to go wherever they chose. Clearly they could have simply kept going.  But for whatever reason they chose to stop at the very spot we would need to turn, so as to insure that we would indeed make the CORRECT right turn this time.

Needless to say, I was impressed.

I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to follow Jesus in the flesh.  To walk with Him while He walked on this earth.  What would have been the murmur of the crowd as we shuffled along behind and around the Messiah?  While this is only speculation, I’d suspect that many of the rumblings in the crowd would have echoed that of the Samaritan woman; the one Jesus spoke to personally and privately at the well.  She said to the townspeople, “I’ve found the man who knows everything about me.”  (John 4:29)  In other words, I’ve found the One!  Or perhaps common to the chatter in the crowd would be the words of Peter when Jesus asked him, “Who do you say I am?”.  Peter answered: “You are the Messiah. The Son of the Living God.”  (Matt. 16:115-16)

Being “lost” and encountering 2 very different types of people on the trail that day reminded me that I have a choice to make as I live my life knowing the Truth that I know.  I can either zip along life’s path, paying no attention to people in need, or I can keep a eye out for an opportunity to stop, share the Map, and show someone the way out of the dark and into the Light.

*By the way, I downloaded “MapMyRide” to my phone as soon as I got home.

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2 thoughts on “Wrong way, Magellan.

  1. I love the secret code names that you use. haha! Yall seriously need to make a missional community out of the bike riding crew!

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