Monday, February 11, 2008

I think I remember...

It's one of those vague memories that you're not sure if you really remember it, or if it's been created by hearing the stories families tell again and again. But, I think I remember a time when life was of the things that I enjoyed was going outside with the whole family. I'm the youngest, so I was the last to learn to ride a bike. So, when my family enjoyed an afternoon/evening bike ride, I would ride in a little orange seat that was attached to the back of my father's bike.
But, you need to understand that this was before the time of the sleek looking strollers and pull behind carriages that today's toddlers enjoy- things for me weren't so luxurious. My seat was directly behind my father. I was short, wearing a helmet and sitting in a seat that was designed to keep me from falling out...if you don't know where I'm heading with this, I'll spell it out- vision was limited. Now, don't get me wrong, I loved bike rides...the thrill of the outdoors, the wind through my hair- or at least the slits in the helmet I was wearing....the fascination of watching the pavement pass quickly underneath me...all this without having to pedal the bike. It was great!
Now that I think about it, I'm not so sure I would appreciate it as much. Why wouldn't I like a free ride? Here's a few reasons-
  1. Because I couldn't see what was ahead...looking forward gave me the familiar site of my father's never changed that much.
  2. I was not in control of where we went- I have real issues with this. I like having control of the TV, of the computer, of the car I'm in...and if I knew how to fly a plane, I'd want to control that too!
  3. I wasn't in control of how fast we went- my sister is only a few years older than me, so I can imagine that I bugged my dad to "go faster!" But we couldn't leave everyone else behind.
So, why was I ok with it then?
  1. I think as children we're much more likely to trust people. Which is why you have to educate children on things like not talking to strangers, or getting in the car with someone they don't know. Children are usually optimists- they don't think the world is out to get them...yet.
  2. I knew my father loved me and was aware of my presence- I do recall him turning his head and asking, "Are you ok back there, buddy?" and even reaching back to squeeze my foot as a way of saying, "I know you're there. I'll keep you safe."
  3. I hadn't experienced what it was like to be in control- as far as I was concerned, this was as good as it could ever get...and I don't remember desiring to pedal and steer until later in my young life.
So, what's all this got to do with life today? What's it got to do with God?
God is omniscient (he knows everything), my father could see everything...or at least what was ahead, beside, and if he turned his head, he could see where we had been. From my point of view, I could only see where we were currently. The things that were directly underneath the bike...and it passed quickly. I my perception, at least visually, was extremely limited by my current condition. And, I was fine with it. Now, if you were to put me in the same situation, I'd be irritated and wanting to know where we were, where we were going and know where we had been.
Often times we experience the same relationship with God. The early stages of our faith walk is new and exciting. We know Jesus loves us and that God will take care of us. But then we gain knowledge and start thinking that we know what's best, because we have a plan for ourselves. That's when the trouble starts- we get angry with God when we can't see how what we're doing right now is going to work into our plan. We can't understand why we can't go where we want. I could go on, but you get the point. So what do I do when I feel like this? Find peace of mind in this:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NIV)


Brooks said...

One of my earliest memories is of riding in a seat in the back of my mom's bike, in Flower Mound (just outside of Dallas)... I remember passing by a tennis court, and I remember the jolt of moving down the curb from the sidewalk to the side of the road.

I've wondered why God lets us remember things like that. Are they important, these little moments, insignificant snapshots into one day a long time ago? It's funny what we remember and what we forget... I remember nothing about my kindergarden graduation except my mom laughing when, for the Pledge of Alligence, I saluted the flag like you would a superior officer (hand above right eye).

Maybe those are the things that really matter.

Russ Bowlin said...

just to make a small world experience: many of my good friends in high school lived in flower mound and lewisville is currently home to a few of my friends. i made many trips to FM back in the day...your comment made me think of a Forrest Gump quote: "You know it's funny what a young man recollects? 'Cause I don't remember bein' born. I don't recall what I got for my first Christmas and I don't know when I went on my first outdoor picnic. But I do remember the first time I heard the sweetest voice in the wide world." Finally, i wonder which eye a cyclops would salute over if they were passing by a superior cyclops officer?