A short, true story with a moral lesson.
|A Risky Lesson In Thankfulness
***update 3/5/16, after receiving reviews on writing.com***
1 Thessalonians 5:18
18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
New Living Translation (NLT)
One perfect October evening after a difficult day, I had some extra time for a much needed bike ride to relieve some stress. I had just the leisurely route in mind for a cool autumn evening. I had been hoping to explore the northern side of Highway 431, which ran through our little town of Springfield, TN. I set out on my rusty, old-but-trusty 1980’s model Huffy Ultima road bike. Weighing in at about 40 lbs it was a tank compared to the sub 15-pound Tour De France bikes I dreamed of. In college you are grateful to have any bike.
With the sun setting on my left I ventured out. After a few miles of rolling hills I came to the end of Highway 431 and turned onto an unfamiliar country road running past farm after farm. It was curvy and made for a fun ride on my red bike while the sun lasted. Once darkness set in, my leisurely ride became an epic journey home.
The first thing I noticed was that my flashlight was much to dim for riding beyond the streetlights of 431. Peddling along I could only see a few feet in front of me. My pace steadily slowed as the fading light dwindled into the cool night. Suddenly startled into a burst of speed by something big running in the dark adjacent to the road! My heart rate thudded as I heard more coming up behind me. They were keeping pace with me! Riding and riding as fast as my gears would allow I finally outran them. Stopping a good distance away I looked back and found they were only deer whom I had spooked. Thankfully none ran in front of me!
On down the road my joy ride turned adventure wasn’t over. Only minutes later a black and white face appeared hissing at me in my narrow beam. Realizing the last thing I wanted was to come home smelling of skunk, I shifted through the gears as fast as my tension shifters would allow! Whether I was too quick or he just wanted a good laugh from my terror-stricken face I will never know. But as my adventure would have it, just as I escaped a skunk-scented shower, I looked down and my helmet light reveled a tire slowly deflating. I brought my tire patch kit, but then realized I left my air pump at home. How poetic.
I was not about to retrace the same route and risk meeting a skunk wanting another laugh. I was determined to handle the situation and perhaps a little to proud to call for a rescue by my wife. So my only option was to take a narrow, more heavily traveled road with no shoulder. Four and a half miles didn’t seem too daunting and my tire should last. But less than a mile into the stretch, I veered close to the edge to avoid a passing truck and trailer. As I did, I hit the rumble strip. My smartphone was shaken out of the handle bar mount and skidded across the pavement. Just perfect. I stopped to recover it from the ditch and was greeted by the picture of my best friend looking back at me through a cracked screen. Sigh. At least my bike and my dignity were intact. I would not have to call my wife for a rescue-- yet.
I thought my adventure was done, but there was more to come. Just a few miles later a semi-truck decided to pass me on a sharp curve; the kind that you only find on narrow country roads. The driver decided to go into the oncoming traffic lane and honk at oncoming cars to stop. I jumped in the ditch. Once the truck was passed, I was graced by a pleasant countrywoman’s yelling as she roared passed me. “Get off the road!” she yelled. Her words rung in my ears. What she didn’t realize was that I didn’t want to be there any more than she wanted me to be.
Finally arriving home, I thanked God for keeping me safe. God desires we learn from life’s trying experiences. The lesson I learned was to be thankful for what had not gone wrong. There are many people in life who complain at the worst and best of times. They seem to be incapable of gratefulness. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to be thankful in all things. I learned on that ride to be extremely thankful for all the things that went right. We don’t always see how things could go wrong. When we do meet those prank loving skunks or crazy country ladies, we ought to be thankful for what is going right.