I‘m standing at the counter, day seeping in without knocking, jotting down a list of the day’s tasks, the work of a week, in my journal, and it’s just a tad overwhelming.
I’m trying to remember just to breathe…
And then I am fifteen again.
That summer I gripped the handlebars of a Honda Goldwing, weave around margarine tubs set up as pylons in the backyard.
How do you weave through life’s obstacles?
It was this threading through four white Gay-lea markers, loop around the Manitoba Maple.
Slip through another four tubs, circle a knot of slender poplars. Begin again on the far side, under the lilacs.
Come the end of the day, my Dad would lean up against the doorway of the shop, cap peak pulled low, just watching, nodding now and then.
Mama would look up from scrubbing potatoes, her face framed by the kitchen window lace valance. And I’d wobble a motorcycle through an obstacle course.
We all knew that, for me, climbing up on that seat, gripping those handle bars, wasn’t about speed or finesse.
It was about fear.
About swimming through murky cold fear. And surfacing to breathe. Fear of plunging, fear of falling, fear of pain, fear of handling a revving engine and a mass of steel, fear of accelerating, the open road and all the unknown.
Dad was doggedly brave like that. He didn’t like us saying there was something we couldn’t do: weld, drive a motorcycle, pick up a phone, back up a tractor with a wagon behind it, open your mouth to say hello.
If something held us back, today was the day to begin to push back. Today is always the best day to end the fears and begin being the best you.
I was, and am still, his most fearful child.
The child most like him.
“Just keep it steady.” That’s what Dad would say. “Balance it, like you’re riding a bike: don’t oversteer…or panic.”
His smile lingers long after he steps back, hands filling Wrangler pockets, waiting. Waiting for me to gulp hard and ease off the clutch.
A whole string of twilight practices, my shadow falling long and dark across the lawn, see me bobble, dangle, jolt, hang on.
Dad nods…shakes his head…chuckles…sighs. And I want to holler across the yard to him, “I told you so!”
I told you: I am just too scared, too tight, too… tight with fear.
Light fading one summer evening, Dad closes the shed door and walks across the gravel yard, his scuffed, untied workboots stopping at lawn’s edge. I manage, barely, to brake just before him. He waits while I pull off the helmet before he speaks.
“Move over.” I know that look of steely resolve. I hand him the helmet.
The harvested wheat field is ours.
We curve around behind the barns and set off for the hill along the far fenceline. Dad gracefully leans the bike down and lets her glide, this way, then that.
He calls over his shoulder, “See how you just let her go? Flow with it.”
Dad gently curves down towards the woods, and I follow. I lean too. I don’t brace, I don’t stiffen. I lean into the curve.
“However it leans, you lean too.”
Dad accelerates and the Gold Wing purrs. The wind whips, alive, through my hair. The land rises to meet me; I sink down into her. We are merging with the topography, the crest and hollow of land. Our shadow tows close, rising and falling across the golden stubble.
I become one with the curves and the turns and the hills and the valleys. I release my grip, my fears…. I bend. I’m surrendered to the adventure of now. No fear.
Fear quickens Lucifer; Faith quickens the Lord.
I know to whom I need cry, “Come quickly.”
I could lean back into love.
Our long shadows across the field — they mirror what I feel: Fluid.
Faith is this, a fluidity — the way the grass, the will, the heart, moves the way He moves.
I stand in a kitchen with a list in hand.
A calendar on the wall.
Tasks pressing on the mind.
I take a deep breath, loosen the shoulders, stay fluid.
Let go and lean.
Lean back into Him.
There is this way of living: abandon all worries and abide in Christ — all is well.
The relief’s in the release of everything into the hands of God. Isn’t it all safer in His hands anyway? Abandon and abide — all is well.
Life’s an adventure when we move as He moves.
Standing in the kitchen I breathe deep and let it all ebb away into a smile.
Fluid and fully surrendered to Christ, I think I can feel it even here.
The wild wind in the hair….
Day 12: Catch the whole 31 Days to Crazy Joy series right here