I was out in the back yard some time ago and I noticed the Burley bicycle trailer (something like this) cowering from the weather underneath the little tree house I’d made for Michael years ago. He and I used to go all over the place with that thing… We found that we could pop the wheels off, fold it up and put it in the trunk, then pop the bike on the back of the car, then go someplace fun and go for a long bike ride without having to actually ride *there* to do the ride… It made for a lot more fun (and energy) during the ride itself.
One time, we went to the zoo, just riding from the house – it wasn’t far, but it was up a pretty steep hill – and it seemed a lot harder to get there that time. He was fine, but I found out that I’d accidentally left our daughter’s french horn in the ‘trunk’ of the trailer behind Michael. Turns out dragging random brass musical instruments around behind you slows you down when you’re going uphill. We begged the person at the gate to store it for us while we were at the zoo that day with the animals, and I made sure not to go too fast down the hills on the way home.
Other than the zoo, we went so many places with that bike and trailer…. to the Ballard Locks for picnics, to playgrounds for him to meet people and play, to Discovery Park to ride the trails and pick blackberries.
We always had a tall flag on the trailer with a little spinning wind sock on it, and it would flutter in the breeze as we went down the road or the trails. Because that made us stand out a bit, one time a lady saw us in the morning on our way to the playground, and in the afternoon out at Discovery Park (a few miles apart) – and stopped me, wondering, “Do you take him EVERYWHERE in that thing?”
I had to answer both yes and no, and explained how I did ride the bike everywhere, but sometimes used the car to get to ‘everywhere’. She seemed to appreciate that.
The time that stands out the most is one time when Cindy and Alyssa were out of town… I’m not exactly sure where, but I had no car to get to church in, and so Michael and I decided we’d go to church – well, me to church and him to Sunday School, and we did it on the bike.
From our house, it’s about a mile and a half down hill – which is fun and fast, and then it’s the Burke Gilman trail, which is flat, then we cross the Fremont Bridge (lowest drawbridge in the US, and therefore the busiest). Then it was up a gentle hill (Florentia Street) for a bit, and then left up a very steep hill (First Avenue) to go on a bicycle, much less a bicycle pulling a trailer with a little boy in it (wisely, we left the French horn at home this time)
What was interesting is that it was so steep that I was in first gear, and each time I pedaled, the front wheel would pop off the ground just a little, so clearly I couldn’t steer with the wheel off the ground, but when the wheel wasn’t on the ground was the only time I had power. I got going slower and slower until I was making S-turns up the road – going from side to side to build up a little speed, then u-turning up the hill and doing it over again, until I got to an entrance to a parking lot where First Avenue was level.
At that point I was huffing and puffing, and just rode in circles on that level bit of ground for a bit to catch my breath, only to hear a small voice behind me say, “Papa! You Made it!”
I’d completely missed the fact that he was sitting back there watching me.
I’d completely missed the fact that I was being an example to him, just by doing what I was doing.
As hard as I was working, as much as I was struggling to keep us moving – I was unaware that little eyes were on me.
I completely lost whatever lesson there was at church and realized the lesson was right there…
And of course, it got me thinking.
How many times does that happen to us?
How many times are people watching us, silently cheering us on?
And how many times would we keep going just that one extra step if we knew that?
So I’m going to put this out there for you, because there have been times where I’ve been the one cheering people on privately, but there have been other times when I’ve been the one quietly, no, silently cheering someone on…
Without actually telling them.
I’d be quietly watching, hoping for them to succeed in whatever battle they’re fighting.
And I’d want them to win.
I want them to climb that mountain.
I want them to find the balance between powering when they need to move forward, and steering when they need to change direction.
I. Want. Them. To. Win.
So… for me – for you… respond to this. It can be at the end of this blog, but it doesn’t have to be. But respond to that someone you’re quietly cheering on, and put in it a note about someone you’re cheering on and why… Doesn’t have to include their name – in fact, it’d be better if you didn’t here… That’d protect their privacy, which would be good, because so many of these battles, climbs, challenges are so private – and then share this with them to actually let them know what you mean.
But be bold and let them know.
You have no idea how much a little bit of encouragement can mean to them in their battle.
Take care, God bless, and thanks.