Sunday, May 29, 2011
Thoughts About Bike Riding.
This past week in Nagoya, we experienced four consecutive days of rainy weather. In America, I never fretted the rain too much because I knew the most I’d have to suffer through would be a quick jaunt from the house to my car or from my car into a store. The car that I was privileged to have shielded me from even the harshest of weather conditions outside. The weather in my car, without fail, was always a climate-controlled 70 degrees with no rain.
Since moving to Japan, however, I have lost the luxury of using a car for my daily transportation needs. All that remains is my trusty Giant (brand) bicycle to take me to and from wherever I wish to go. With this reality comes the additional reality of losing the power of “climate-control” that we all love so much about our cars. Now, I must tolerate whatever weather conditions come my way, be it rain, sleet, snow, hail or anything in between. This means that I have had to ride miles a day through heavy snow, across icy sidewalks and streets, through absolute downpours, into 30 mile per hour headwinds uphill, through freezing rainstorms, and with any number of tumultuous conditions the atmosphere chooses to send my way. But any fair analysis of the reality of bike riding has to also touch upon the positive aspects of this unpredictable mode of transportation. On a bicycle, I get to see the gorgeous Japanese sky as it changes from summer and autumn to winter and spring then back again. I get to experience cool, crisp autumn breezes, the gourmet aromas of restaurants pouring out their front doors as I pedal by, sublimely perfect spring days when the sunshine is just enough to warm your face and the breeze just cool enough to offset the heat of the sun. Those are days on which bike riding is truly joyful.
It’s true that by having a car I could avoid all those wet, snowy, and otherwise contemptible weatherconditions. But by hiding away within the climate-controlled comfort of my car, I would miss those crispautumn breezes, the aromas, the warmth of the spring sun, and the other little joys that I experiencwhile riding my bicycle through the city. The spiritual parallel I think is this: it is easy to give into the temptation to take control of your life as a Christian and try to create a “climate-controlled” life foryourself that is comfortable and protected from the unknowns of the world in which we live. Can you insulate yourself from many of life’s dangers, challenges, and uncertainties? Sure you can, to a certain degree. But by building that comfortable shelter around yourself, you are also shutting out some of the glories of a life you could be leading had you not insulated yourself from the unknown. And, to be sure, a life submitted to the will of God and without your constant micromanaging is one that will be unknown to you. I never know from week to week just what type of weather I’ll be pedaling through, but I’d surely never give up those periodically amazing days out of fear of a spot of rain every once in a while. So goes bike riding, and so goes a life submitted to God.