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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Roadside Refelections

An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.
G. K. Chesterton

On the side of a farm road in rural Switzerland, I am down on my knees, bent over double, my forehead resting on the rocky shoulder that provides a separation between the rough asphalt and the cool, green grass of the fields behind me. I pound repeatedly on the ground with my right hand, my left bound tightly to my side with two pair of tights, my forearm resting on my leg, just above the knee. I'm in pain, and it is not just from the abrasions or my shoulder. I am angry. At myself for not seeing the hazard in the road. I am disappointed at the sudden end to the tour. Bill is already confirming that he will stay with me the rest of the day. I know that his tour is over, too, and this adds a big dose of regret to the fusion of feelings. On the periphery, thoughts of medical procedures begin to creep in. Dislocated? Broken? Diagnosis and treatment are sure to be painful. For this brief moment, it is very dark on this otherwise wonderful, sunshiny day.

But the upswell of these feelings is met by rising thoughts of another ilk. There is no way that I am going to end this tour by climbing up a steep slope of self-pity. It has been an exhilarating two weeks, spent in appreciation for new friendships, and in awe and wonder of the challenges, sights and other experiences of this truly amazing bicycle ride. These are now firmly in the memories category. While they might be just words on the pages of my journal, they are, and will remain, real and satisfying. The joy of the ride cannot be taken back, even by this most sudden ending. Still angry at myself; still disappointed that the tour has so abruptly ended; still regretting the effect this has on Bob, Ruppert and especially on Bill; still concerned for the issues of finding and receiving treatment for the injuries. With all of these weighing on me, I stand up, more or less declaring that it is time to get on with it.

Pretty macho, tough guy stuff, right? Well, not exactly. Sure, I'd decided to not let the disappointment of this moment overshadow the enjoyment and satisfaction of the tour. And I'd like to say I stood up defiantly, staring all of these feelings into meek submission. But what actually happened was I forced myself off of the ground and responded to continuing inquiries as to my state of being with a weak "I think I'm OK," at which point I got extremely lightheaded and needed to be assissted back into a sitting position. There were going to be some hills to climb, but with this shaky start, the inconveniences of the crash were transforming into an adventure, starting right now, right here on the side of a farm road in rural Switzerland.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Meek submission . . . a bike crash is a hard way to learn what God requires. Thanks for sharing the feeling.