I have been writing recently about spiritual emotions. Today I rode my bike to church and with the ride came a variety of feelings.
First came the excitement of doing something new. I had talked about making the 28 mile trek from home to Resurrection all last summer, but never did it. This year I felt this internal drive to make it happen. So as I prepared my water bottles and look over the route, I had a mixture of joy, anticipation and excitement.
The joy and excitement stayed with me during the first twelve miles of the ride. It was a beautiful morning, cool with a slight overcast. Part of my journey was along a paved state trail, a converted railroad bed, that was sheltered and tree-lined. I felt like a kid set free.
Then at twelve miles, a new feeling rose up within me. I could feel my back tire going soft and disappointment crept into my heart. “No, Not a flat tire. Not today! Not on the way to work,” I thought. And I simply panicked. Even though I had changed my bike tire, it had always been with more experienced riders who could assist me. Thinking I could not do it on my own, I phoned my wife and asked her to rescue me.
While I waited, I decided to work on changing the tire. And within fifteen minutes, I had the flat fixed. Now my emotions shifted again, from disappointment to that of satisfaction. “I can fix a flat!” But my wife was still on her way and she was not answering her cell phone. So I waited, impatient and also apologetic. When she arrived, I was feeling a bit embarrassed that I had called for her assistance. When she arrived she responded graciously and I felt some relief and peace that I could complete my ride.
The rest of the ride went smoothly except for one instance. As I entered Woodbury proper, the traffic increased and I had to be quite mindful of various cars and trucks at intersections. Approaching one traffic light, a male passenger yelled something at me through an open car window. I felt this immediate irritation at being accosted. I believed that I had every right to be there. The car had stopped at the intersection and I bicycled by it. As I passed, with irritation I said to the passenger, “I have every right to bike here.” He just gave me a strange, disgruntled look and I rode on.
I then reflected on my feelings of irritation. Was I going to let this one momentary event color the rest of my ride? Would I allow this irritation to grow to full anger? Emotions can be ridden just like a bike. We can brood on some feeling, deepening its intensity, or we can let it go, seeking new emotions to ride.
Fortunately, I caught sight of a unique vehicle, a recumbent bike with a full bright-yellow wind frame around it. With that flash of novelty, I happily finished my ride to church, feeling a new sense of accomplishment.
Now I am wondering, “What emotions and feeling will I have on the ride home this evening?”
Lord Jesus, take the rough edges of my heart and mold them to your desires.