Rustlings (July 7, 2014)

DELILAH WAS LEANING…against the bedroom wall. I hadn’t touched her in a couple of months, but today was the day. I lifted her and carefully carried her through the apartment, out the front door and down the steps to the road. I set her down and leaned her against a tree so that I could cinch my bike shoes and secure my bike helmet. (Oh…I’m sorry….you probably haven’t met. Delilah is my 2012 Cervelo S5 race bike.) It’s July 4, and I’ve decided to take my first ride on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. It’s a strange mix of morning feelings for me. I’m excited about getting back in the saddle. I’m a little nervous about navigating through Cleveland and Falls parks. I’m hoping my aerobic capacity and riding legs still remember their roles. I’m wondering if I’ll need to stop and ask directions along the way. It’s all the things I typically think about when I’m riding somewhere I’ve never ridden before…

DELILAH IS LEANING…against the bedroom wall again, and I’m reflecting on a wonderful ride. All went well; better than expected. I only lost my way once, and fortunately another traveler put me back on the trail. I watched the signs, avoided the loose gravel and other obstacles and trusted the biking abilities I’ve gained from past experience.

DELILAH WILL BE LEANING…against the bedroom wall when I head to church this Sunday. She has served her purpose today. She has provided me a smooth, easy ride on the trail – and in the process – has reminded me of some important facets of pastoral leadership.

  1. It’s always exciting to traverse a new trail. They are usually well-marked; it’s really hard to get lost.
  2. There are plenty of other people on the trail and most of them are happy to share a word of direction and/or encouragement.
  3. Skills developed in the past will help me avoid or deal with the inevitable obstacles.
  4. I can do this; I’ve ridden hundreds of miles before.
  5. All the worries and challenges along the way cannot take away the sheer joy of the ride: leaning hard into curves, pushing hard up hills, taking in the scenery, smiling at the people, feeling the wind.

Ok church…let’s ride…

Jim