My husband and I rode a tandem bike from Lansing to Mackinaw this past summer. A five day road tour that stretched our muscles and grew our relationship as we steadily pedaled our way through Michigan. Our goal was to reach and cross the Mackinac Bridge; a triumphant entry into the upper peninsula would signify the end of the laborious journey.
Each morning we woke up in the dark. We folded our sleeping bags up tightly, along with our dew-laden tent. We stretched our sore calf muscles as we stepped into padded biking shorts and pulled on matching jerseys for the day’s ride. There was a chill in the air as we plopped down on the bike and pushed through our excuses for not wanting to face the 60ish miles that loomed before us.
Sometimes we rode in contented silence, concentrating on the task at hand, taking in the scenery and simply enjoying the togetherness (okay, who am I kidding? I mostly talked Adam’s ear off since he was a captive audience and couldn’t escape since we were welded together). We crawled up the hills but sped down them, wind in our faces and prayers on our lips that we wouldn’t hit a rock and fall off.
Little by little, rotation by rotation we put miles behind us.
We usually arrived at our campsite by early afternoon, tired yet happy that we completed another leg of the ride and were getting one step closer to our final destination.
The road tour staff greeted us with smiles of welcome and snacks to refuel our weary bodies. One of those on staff was a family friend, Heidi, a cheery middle-aged blond who organized much of the trip. Her husband, sons, and niece were on the tour while she worked behind-the-scenes to make things run smoothly. This family was committed to biking. They breathed it, lived it, loved it, and they did it together.
Heidi’s smiling face at the end of the day was a welcome site, signifying another day was in the books on this crazy adventure. One evening, after Heidi caught wind that it was my husband’s birthday, she called Adam up after dinner, and in front of hundreds of riders she presented him with a cupcake as we sang and embarrassed him.
The last day of the tour we crossed the Mackinac Bridge. It was a thrilling and slightly terrifying experience as we rode the last seven mile leg on the Mighty Mac, suspended over the place where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron collide.
A few days ago, five months after we completed the tour, my husband got a call. Heidi had died unexpectedly. While sitting in her car, in the parking lot at work, someone found her dead. She had just left the office where she and her husband are employed. One moment full of life, the other gone from this world.
We don’t yet know what happened, what the reason was for Heidi’s passing, but the whole thing has got me thinking.
Do we think we are invincible? Do we assume we have a lifetime of days spread out like open road before us? Do we rush out the door, foregoing a kiss or cuddle because we have “important” things to do?
I am going to kiss my husband longer. I want to let my gaze linger as I tuck my children in at night. I want to focus on my 24-hour legacy so I can lay my head on the pillow at night knowing that I gave my best by His grace and leading.
I don’t want to live in fear because of this but welcome others in with a warm smile at the end of a long day’s journey. I want to live by faith that the Invincible God has given me a set amount of days to love those entrusted to my care. He is working behind-the-scenes to create a tour of adventure that leads us right to His loving arms.
In the dark He is working. He is organizing the details and giving us each an important role to play. Your life matters. Your behind-the-scenes life is providing a way for others to pedal faster and longer; stretched for His purposes.
Let’s not let Heidi’s death keep us from trusting His care. Let’s not live paralyzed by the “what ifs” but put one foot in front of the other and live life in tandem with Jesus. Together we can make it as He leads us on a tour of His grace.
We can belong to the invincible God and we can rest in His ability to get us to our final destination; one full of smiles welcoming us Home after a long ride.
Katie Reid is the Tightly Wound Woman, a recovering perfectionist who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby and four children and their life in ministry. Studying God’s Word, singing/songwriting, speaking, writing, photography and cut-to-the-chase conversations are a few of her favorite things. Katie has an album for purchase, Echoes of My Heart, on her blog, Amazon and iTunes.