The rain today drove me inside. My friend Tim and I have been trying to get together all week, so finally I suggested that we meet for a spinning class this morning at the Woodbury YMCA. I had attended only two previous classes, each time with Tim as my guide. Naturally I was late getting out of the house, but I still minded the speed-limit as I drove to Woodbury. I rushed into the locker room expecting to see Tim ready to go. But there was no Tim, not in the locker room or the hallway or Studio 1.
As people pulled out cycles for the class, I pulled out two, expecting Tim to show any moment. I tried to remember the instructions Tim gave me on how to set up my cycle for the best workout. I kept looking at the door, expecting Tim to show. But as the instructor began to start the class, I shifted my attention from Tim’s absence to my participation. Soon I was “getting into it,” pushing my heart rate into my aerobic workout zone. It was a good class.
As I reflected after the class, I think my experience is similar to newcomers at a church or Bible Study or prayer group. We have an interest or curiosity, but we often need an invitation or guide to help us enter the new experience. A friend, co-worker or neighbor invites us to worship and we sit with them during our first visit. We closely watch their behavior, not wanting to do something embarrassing or upsetting. If we enjoy it, then we are open to going back, perhaps with our guide. Eventually we go on our own, comfortable in our knowledge that we can fully engage in the workout or the worship without our guide.
As I walked out from the spinning class, I felt energized and also thankful that I can do the class by myself. I called Tim to find out what had happened. He misread the e-mail and thought the class was this afternoon. We still need to get together for our weekly conversation.
Have you ever been a guide for someone’s new experience?