Without having a car I’ve learned I really enjoy riding a bicycle. I mean, I don't always enjoy it, but I do enjoy it in general. It gives me life and energy. Its taught me to be more comfortable with speed and the feeling of a lack of control while going down hills. I don't like that feeling. Thats the reason I sucked at trying to ski many years ago... but thats another story. Its also taught me to persevere up hills… or get off and walk those steeper ones. While riding a bicycle I’ve also seen how more connected to the environment I am. How I see and interact more. I can smile, wave, and say hi to those walking by, I see and feel the weather, the sweat on my back, the rain on my skin, the soreness in my legs, the life flowing through my body. Its slower paced then a car and nothing is blocking me from whats around me. Being in a car is quick, easy, and sterile. I still love cars and quick rides, but I also appreciate the details while riding a bike and walking.
Walking is even more slow paced and detail filled. It also requires me to plan ahead. It might only take a few minutes in a car, but it may take me 40 minutes to walk. And as I walk, I notice even more details especially when a sandal breaks on the way. Its a different experience to walk barefoot for 2 miles on cement, blacktop, grass, and pebbles. You notice which walking surfaces are actually clean and smooth and which have small pebbles and rocks. On a bike they both seem clean, but with bare feet you know the truth. You see where berries are squished and will stick to and dye your feet. You see how many ant trails run along the seams in the cement. You might not notice these as much on a bike and even less in a car. Riding my bike and walking is helping me go slow, see, and notice again.
Is there something slowing you down?
What have you seen as you slow down?
How can you intentionally slow down to notice details and see?
Like a pebble dropping into a lake, an Instagram post can ripple into the distance. You never know who’s watching or where something might go.
Then a coworker/friend of mine saw it and invited me to be a part of a morning worship time he was co-leading for staff and students of another local ministry. Their theme that day was brokenness so he asked me to prepare and lead the same activity with about 28 adults. So I did. And that was it.
Then I heard that someone there that morning used their experience later in the day to connect and share with some Japanese students they were working with. They all looked up Kintsugi and talked about brokenness and being rebuilt. And that was it.
Until weeks later when I heard how someone else saw my Instagram post and used my it as inspiration to share about brokenness and God rebuilding us as part of a Bible study he co-leads. And that was it.
Shared once. Then twice by me. And at least two other times by others. Who else was inspired and adapted this idea? Where did it ripple next? Where is it rippling right now? Only God knows. It might not be a viral post but it is rippling on.
What are you doing and sharing that can have a ripple effect?
About one year ago my car was rear ended and deemed totaled. I did not feel comfortable buying another car right away for numerous reasons including not wanting to have car debt again. I didn’t know how things would go without a car, but I quickly learned that God was taking care of me before I ever had a problem. In the 50 weeks I haven’t had my car, I’ve only gone the last 3 weeks without a vehicle that was essentially mine to use regularly. Yes, you read correctly. Only 3 weeks. I basically used four cars owned by others during those 47 weeks. And even now that I am without a car I still have a bicycle that was given to me a few months before my car was ruined. And friends that will drive me when needed. Loosing that car has brought newness to me and reminded me of some old lessons.
My last three cars have been taken away from me in similar, but different ways. All pretty sudden and none of them due to anything of my fault. The first time it happened, I realized how much trust and security I had in my car. I loved that car. I miss that car. It was my favorite. My home away from home. It was reliable and the one I had the longest. We had many memories together. We drove across the country together. It represented many things to me including my freedom and ability to travel. It was MY space. It was MINE. It was something I had control over... well, until I didn’t.
Losing that car prepared me for the loss of the last two cars, especially last year. After getting rear ended, I thought it would get fixed and the car would go on. I soon found out that was not the case. I didn’t want to lose it, but I had to let it go. It was done even though it was still drivable and I was done with the insurance company. Right before it got towed away, I received a surprising phone call from a colleague - a new friend. This friend basically told me that I could have the car that he, that his family had. I was surprised, confused, and listened to what he had to say. Over those next few weeks I saw God do more in my heart through their loving generosity. Most of it had nothing to do with a car and more of it had to do with some old pain that needed a little healing. That healing came in unexpected ways. Unexpected ways through loss, through this friend, through tears and laughter, through miscommunication and discussion, through my trusting and letting go. I lost, but I also gained. I gained a friendship, an older brother, family.
A year later if you told me I could have my car, but not the healing, friendship, and connection I have gained, I would choose too loose my car again. Though that choice wasn't so hard cause up until 3 weeks ago I still enjoyed the regular use of a car. It was someone else's car, but I still had a car... well, until I didn't. The car I was using stopped working. The owner had already bought a new car and she decided to junk this one since it wasn’t worth putting more money into. My freedom was gone again.
Since then I’ve learned to ride my bicycle more, in rain, in shine, and when I don't want to. Sometimes I give into the I really don't want to ride a bike today and ask for a ride. Or I need to go somewhere that is too far. I don't want to ask. I don't want to have to rely on someone else. I don't want to inconvenience or make someone else’s busy life even busier. But sometimes I do ask. Most of the time I honestly would rather just do it on my own and have the freedom to get up and go as needed, when wanted. Asking and relying on others is hard. I need to rely on others. I need to trust others. I need to be vulnerable with others. We all do.
Also having no car is prompting me to see many of those around me who do not have a car, who rely on public transportation, walking, or the generosity of others. Its helping me appreciate what I have had and connections and resources I currently still have.
All of this is reminding me of the One who takes cares for more then just my seen needs. I'm seen. You are seen. We together are seen.
Where have you seen healing in unexpected ways?
What resources and connections do you have right now?
How can you SEE someone today?