Monday, September 19, 2011

Back of the Bike

I walked in the graveled edge of the road, away from the Monastery where I was attending a silent retreat. I walked, breathing and brushing off the webby mental moss that had taken over. When I had arrived, I had felt God reminded me that this was our special weekend away – just the two of us – a celebration of our life together and a chance to get reacquainted.

On the country road I mentally wrote him a little note. Not too sappy, but something understated with a black-and-white picture on the front of people in love. “I like being married to you.” I said. “You are gentle with me. You are fun. You are trustworthy. We have so many lovely memories together.” I let me mind wander around the fields while my body walked. And I felt like he was really there.

But he did not walk beside me; we were riding a tandem bicycle and I was in back. Riding a tandem is something I have had some experience with. It is something I really enjoy – it is one of the many hobbies my husband and I had before we were outnumbered by children. I like riding on the back of the tandem because it I get to enjoy being outside with the ear of my husband on which I can lay a steady stream of my thoughts. I get to look around at the scenery. I work hard. I get sweaty. I get to make observations and do lots of talking, but when I am on the tandem I never get to see exactly where I am going; what lies ahead is blocked by the back of the one who steers. But the view on either side is often breathtaking, and since I do not have to pay attention to the road, I get to really look – at houses, people, mountains, sunsets, signs, cloud formations, and everything that is stuck to the pavement.

As I thought about life on the back of the tandem, I tucked my head slightly forward, like I would have in “real life” and rested my cheek against His back, letting it shade me from the breeze and the sun. I breathed in the aroma of outdoor exercise – sweat, wind, skin, chain grease and fabric softener. I closed my eyes and said to Him, “I like it back here. Thanks for driving. Let me know if you see any potholes.”

“…He leads me…” Psalm 23

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