Long before bike helmets were used, Riley loved to race his Stingray at breakneck speeds, keeping his guardian angel working overtime. The kid with 9 lives was hell on two wheels.
The bicycle's ‘banana’ seat was elongated so that it looked more like a mini couch than a saddle. The chrome handle bars were a design statement too, echoing that of the ol' Harley Softtail. But the 5-speed stick shift set it off like no other.
Several weeks before Riley had hit loose grave. He flew over the handlebars and smashed open his skull. The kid with 8 lives remaining walked home bleeding, terrified his Mom, and took a trip to the ER for multiple stiches.
But boys have short memories and soon Riley was back on his bike, flying fearlessly down the hill at a speed rivalling that of a cheetah with his feet off the petals. The next thing he remembered, the front wheel jammed into a bridge railing and his momentum carried him right over the top into the river below.
Thank God for the autumn rains. If he’d done that just two weeks before there would have been only rocks to break his fall instead of 2 feet of water. Getting his bike fixed was Riley’s first priority; the collar bone would heal itself.
After a tune-up, he was back at it again, this time for a little off-roading. The gears were flawless as he shifted into high and pedaled hard. The greenery became a blur as his eyes watered from the racing wind.
Seemingly out of nowhere a giant tree limb blocked his path. It must have come down in the storm the previous night.
Riley jammed on the brakes way too late. When the front wheel connected with solid wood, he went airborne (again) and felt his arm snap when he hit the hard dirt floor.
He stood up, collected himself, and laughed. He was happy to be alive and ready for one more ride before heading home.
I’m now in my sixties; my bike riding days are far behind me. I try not to stress my guardian angel nowadays; he worked hard enough when I was “hell on wheels.”
I’m grateful to be alive; ready for one more ride through this life before heading home. We’re never sure how much time we still have left on earth but I’m determined to live them all in love, laughter, and joy.
Life’s a glorious adventure. Its most exciting parts though, aren’t when you risk your neck. They’re when you share your heart. May you give love freely - first to God, then to others and finally to yourself. It’s your road and yours alone so make it count.
Lord, we move so fast that sometimes we see so little. Slow us down. Help us to pursue moments of meditation. Help us to see in a deeper way, to become more aware of what speaks to us in beauty and truth. Amen