I read a book a little while ago which reminded me of my bicycle when I was a little girl. It’s a big read bike with white tyres – it’s not brand new but a hand-me-down that I am completely thrilled over. I have a bicycle and it is so lovely. It has a silver bell and looks so grown up and big. This is it… my big-girl bike…the only thing is I can’t ride it without some assistance.
Now, if my memory serves me correctly (and am going to just tell you up front I am adding poetic license to the story here and there but work with me on this one) my dad puts on fairy wheels or training wheels as most may know them by, and I am perfectly balanced. I love this bike and I love riding around the back garden – I am a princess on my trusty steed, riding into the majestic sunset with my prince alongside me.
The funny thing is that I don’t remember the day my dad took those fairy wheels off or the day that I learned to ride my red bike without them. I know that either my mom or my dad were holding that seat steady, telling me I could do it and then… they let go.
I imagine there was a little wobbling, my heart pulsing in my throat, but I peddle one foot in pushing forward and then the other, staring straight ahead, my little hands squeezing the handles tight, I must have been afraid but still exhilarated by the bigness of the bravery of me. “No fairy wheels mom and dad,” and then I am riding that bicycle, that shiny, red, faithful steed – “I did it, I did it!”
I sense my parents smiling, laughing and praising me. I am now an official bicycle rider – sans assistance. I was such a little actress at that age – I am sure I was doing my ‘sha-na-na’ act in the bath that night, bragging to my sister about my victory – it was a good, good day…despite my inability to remember it clearly, I know that for certain.
Maybe I did have a fall and cried a few tears that day, in the end it doesn’t seem that important. I know if I did fall, I got right back on my red bike and I tried again because today I am a successful bicycle rider ( not a cyclist please note, my skill or perhaps lack of stamina prevents me from doing the Cape Argus) but give me a bike today or 3 years from now and I will successfully ride it without any fairy wheels or support. Yes, I know, reasonably unimpressive you me and a million others are able to do exactly the same thing. But let’s look at this story from a fresh perspective.
Imagine your lovely red, shiny bike with white wheels stands before you – this is a gift.
This red bike represents your possible future, your dream. The problem is right now you can’t get on and ride it without support. You can’t take it on the open roads just yet – you’ll fall right over before you even lift both feet off the ground.
The training wheels or fairy wheels, as my sister and I used to call them – these represent your training.
You need your wheels in order to:
- Gain confidence in your ability to ride this bicycle;
- Understand how to steer and balance when riding;
- Understand what works and how avoid injury on the road
- Learn what the rules of the road are – how to indicate a left or right turn, when to stop, how fast or how slow you can go;
- Learn what not to do;
- And of course what to do when you get a puncture.
Your fairy wheels allow you the time to learn this and they keep you from falling and scraping knees and elbows or worse. Whilst you are riding this bike with these ‘little helpers’ on you almost forget you have them as you grow in your confidence…and one day you just know you are ready, you are ready to go solo…
Your training wheels represent this training period in your life. In order for you to realise your dream, you are going to need to learn what this is all about. You need to learn to believe in your ability to achieve your dream, grow in skill and understanding to steer this dream into victory.
You need to learn what behaviours and attitudes are going to bring success and achievement, learning how you navigate the spaces of your road – what will end in a crash and how to avoid one is an integral part of your journey, skipping it will not be a great idea and can result in yet another detour and or a couple of weeks nursing some serious injuries!
This is but a temporary place, sometimes things do to slow down, sometimes it feels like they stop but there is always a solution, a puncture repair kit so to speak. Our great, magnificent father God always gives us the ability to keep going, if we allow Him to.
Consider this, that there are times when the puncture is also a means to slow us down with purpose. There are those times when we are riding down the hill full steam ahead ignoring the stop signs, we are not indicating when turning and we certainly aren’t even considering what we need to consider to get where we need to safely.
Often we get so busy with being busy, with tasks and the ‘to-do lists’ of life that we stop paying attention to the signs, the messages God sends us, to keep us moving in the right direction and to bring blessing and keep us safe. So, our loving Father does what He does best and He slows us down. If you stand still where you are right now, you may hear His voice softly calling your name, showing you the better way…
How often have you been slowed down or a door has been closed, be it temporarily? Have you immediately had thoughts of how unfair it is or you have blamed the devil, the water in the pipes or the grumpy man next door or just put it down to yet another failure in your life?
Sometimes these ‘puncture moments’ are put in place to get our attention, to get us to think more carefully. To wake us up to where we are at and to where we need to be. To consider the best direction and to listen to God, ultimately to find perspective again. Consider what you are investing your time in and refocus.
The moment will come when you learn to ride without those training wheels. The day you learn to put all of that training into practice. If you take those wheels off too soon you are sure to crash and lose your confidence completely, leave the training wheels on for too long and you may never take them off to venture into any challenging terrain. You could always be confined to the smooth roads of suburbia, ‘Picket-Fenceville” or ‘Comfort Estates’.
The first moment those wheels come off may be scary, it may take you a while to find your balance. You may lose your nerve here and there but you have to remember your training. In these moments you have to remember the skills you learned trudging up and down on that little red bike, just dreaming of this moment.
Yes, when the wheels come off the thoughts that you aren’t ready are going to come flying at you like a 50 knot wind, you have the ability to squash those with every determined pedal forward.
You know what to do, you just need to find your balance, keep looking ahead, manage the direction of those handle bars and believe in yourself.
Its okay if you go slowly at first and take some time to put your feet down to steady yourself but keep moving forward, don’t lose momentum.
You can ride and you can ride like the wind with the wind at your heels and nothing to stop you.
Once you know how to ride, you will always know how to ride.
You just have to choose to stay on this bike and not get off no matter how tough the terrain may be you can do it – your journey has just begun … now ride!
Just keep on peddling,Michelle
Here is to 2014 and your red bike adventures!
©Lessons in French 2014 Michelle Møller