This wasn’t something we were anticipating.
We had just crossed over mile 50 as we peddled to our tunes, and were discussing the evening ahead. We heard a noise, and felt the back end of our tandem bicycle “go squirrely,” as my husband described it. Both our ride and our conversation came to an abrupt halt. Our back tire was losing air, and quickly.
We walked the bike to the nearest bench on the trail, flipped our tandem upside-down, and my husband went to work. My role was to steady the bike in its upside-down position. I was trying to be pleasant. Really, I was. But, deep down, I was irritated this was happening. A flat tire wasn’t a part of our anniversary weekend plans.
A flat tire is never a part of anyone’s plans, is it??
Here we were, in the middle of nowhere. Our tunes were still playing through our speaker. My husband was working away at fixing our tire, while I did all I could to hide my irritation.
A name plate on the bench caught my eye. This bench was in memory of two men. I guessed them to be brothers. Or maybe a dad and son. But the words below the names, I believe, were written there just for me.
“Live in the moment.”
Chuckling in silence, I began to have a conversation in my head.
“This name plate being right here is no coincidence, Julie. You have a choice to make. You can be irritated, or you can live in this moment. This one-of-a-kind, never-again moment. Look around you. Notice that crystal blue sky, and those passing, fluffy white clouds. Be happy you’re in shade, and no bugs are flying around your head. Look at those lush trees and bushes. Watch your husband work his magic fixing this bicycle. Be thankful he can do all he does. Be thankful he’s yours. You have much to be thankful for.”
Isn’t that how it goes though? When life is cruising right along, and we’re making good time on our journey? When we are making plans and enjoying good times? And often, when we least expect it?
Isn’t that when a flat tire happens??
Maybe your flat tire isn’t really a flat tire at all. But it’s a rejection letter. Or a “thank you, but no thank you” notice. Maybe it’s a lay off or a let go. Quite possibly it’s the end of a long-time dream, or a missed goal. Maybe life has beaten you up, and you’re weary, and spent, and you don’t know how you can go on.
Flat tires such as these aren’t so easy to change. The reality is they can alter our journey, and yes, even stop us. Changing a bicycle tire doesn’t begin to come close to these, and I don’t intend to minimize the largeness of them. But, those four little words can still apply. We can choose to live in the moment, even if that moment is different than what we expected.
Humming to the music replaced my silence. The heaviness of my weariness lifted, and was replaced with a hint of joy.
My attitude changed, all because of those four words.
Just in case my husband needed the same lift, I drew his attention to the words. “Bill, check out that sign on the bench.”
He read the words and smiled. Within 20 minutes we were back on our way again, peddling to our destination.
I pray a name plate is strategically placed for any flat tires you may experience on this journey. And, I guess, if my story and the four words that were placed for me encourage you, then our flat tire was more than worth it.
How can you and I encourage another who is experiencing a “flat tire” today?