Essential takeaway: Some hills are really hard!
My family has been on vacation the last two weeks. On one of our beautiful spring mornings, we decided to go for a longer distance bike ride. Pulling the bikes out after winter requires some work, mostly from my husband. Flat tires, broken chains, adjusting seats for growing children, and finding the right sized helmets are all part of the preparation. Plans are made of where we will ride, keeping in mind the ability of each rider. Every bike rider is given a bike based on age, size, and their skills as a rider. After spending more time than we want focusing on preparation, we are finally able to set out on the bike ride.
My nephew was designated leader because he was familiar with the path. The rest of our group set out trusting and following him. I stayed toward the back of the group with my 8 year old, the youngest of our group. This was only the second time she has done a longer bike ride on her own bicycle. I watched as her excitement and anticipation of the ride quickly turned to frustration and sadness because of the difficulty of the trail. The hills were steep. Her bike was smaller than all of the others. She was just learning how to use the gears to make the ride easier, but was struggling with knowing when and how to change the gears. Several times she needed to stop to catch her breath and at one point she stopped her bike and stood at the side of the path sobbing because “it’s too hard! I can’t keep going!” The rest of the group patiently waited with her, let her set the pace, and encouraged her along. Finally at the end of the ride, as she came up the last hill, all those in our group were cheering her on and encouraging her to finish. Toward the end of the ride, I did something dumb and slammed my knee into the bar of my bike. Sometimes, biking can be dangerous as well as hard!
This experience has made me think a lot about our ride on this trail of Earth life. Much anticipation, preparation, and planning went into our ride here. Our various skills, abilities and talents were taken into consideration as we were given our particular “bike” or body to use during this journey. We were so excited, but as the path becomes hard, our excitement can turn to frustration. I don’t know how many times I have stopped and cried to my Heavenly Parents “Its too hard! I can’t keep going!” In those moments, those that are in my group, (my parents, my husband, children, and other loved ones) have patiently waited with me. They have encouraged me along this journey. Once in a while, I make dumb mistakes and I get injured. Sometimes we need to take a break on the side of the path. We need to look for others that are frustrated and taking their breaks. Then, we need to keep peddling. We need to keep the bike moving forward. There will be ups and downs. Some of the hills we ride will be steep. Sometimes the down hills can be just as steep and frightening. Our Heavenly Parents are riding right with us. They have seen the entire trail. They have given us guides and loving people to helps us learn how to navigate this trail with the least amount of pain and difficulty as possible. I’m learning to catch my breath, pace myself, and enjoy the beauty of the trail around me.