Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Failing Brakes

The brakes on my bike were so loose that I had to squeeze with all my might on the hand levers to come to a stop. I had been riding my bike like that all summer. I knew it was dangerous and I needed to fix it, but with this bike, it is hard to pull the brake wires taut. And it has been many years since I was knowledgable enough to just replace the brake wires myself. So finally, despite an overfull day, I rode my bike to REI and asked if they could fix it while I waited. Of course they could. They will do anything for a fee. I rode out of there with brakes that stopped my bike with just a gentle, small squeeze. What a joy to trust and know that when I wanted to stop, I would indeed stop.

I thought it was a fitting metaphor for my life. Sometimes, we let things slide and little by little, it gets harder and harder to stop the slide. We let clutter build up one little thing at a time, we don't do the sit-ups every day, we don't worry about the few extra pieces of bread, we don't do our Bible reading that morning, we say 'yes' to one more commitment because it is a kindness... and pretty soon we are on a bike with no brakes racing down a hill that ends up going off a cliff.

There is a point where one just has to make the decision to fix the brakes. Learn when to say no, when to pull back, when to stop the slide. I wish our country would learn this. Sometimes it has to start with me.

I paid my money to the nice bike repairman, and started to roll it out of the store.
"Check the brakes first," he said, "Don't you want to be sure you like how I have adjusted them before you leave?"
"Oh...yes...I do. Thank you. They are perfect."
I rode happily and safely home, stopping exactly where and when I should.

Psalm 94:18 (NIV)
When I said, “My foot is slipping, ” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.

-save a dog-

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