When climbing the hills of life, we must keep on peddling
by Collen Roy
Photo Caption: Scott Roy (left) rides his special tandem bicycle dubbed “the king of all dad bikes” by Colleen Roy. She writes that their son, Elijah (right) is diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Elijah’s experience reminds Colleen of how God’s love does all the hard work in life’s ride. (Colleen Roy / The B.C. Catholic)
My bike was stolen. What really stinks about it is that I had literally taken the bike in for a tune-up just the week before – 80 bucks down the drain.
Now, the dude at the bike shop was a bit difficult. He must have told me how “horribly neglected” my bike was a hundred times before he rolled it back out to me. Then he said it again on my way out the door.
Seriously, I have had that bike for 20 years. I think spending $80 once in 20 years means the bike was doing all right. Regardless, he sneered a bit as he told me that my bike was okay, “for a mom bike.”
I smirked when he said it, but decided to take it as a compliment. I mean, my “mom bike” may not have won any races, but it sure has carried a few toddlers. It has taken us for rides on the dyke, down steep hills with a son for his weekly allergy shots, to morning Mass, and used for ice cream runs. It also made a cameo appearance in a Milli Vanilli video that my sister-in-law and I made. That’s pretty awesome stuff for a “mom bike.”
But if I have a mom bike, then my husband has the king of all “dad bikes.” His bike has had trailers attached to hold two toddlers while he carried a baby on his back and peddled. And now his bike has a tandem attachment that probably won’t be coming off for some time.
Some of you may remember that my son Elijah was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. That means riding a bike isn’t so easy for him. To peddle while also staying balanced just won’t happen. So, when we found this beautiful attachment on Craigslist, Scott’s bike went on indefinite paternity leave.
Scott takes pretty much all the weigh ... and does all the balancing ... and the steering. Elijah sits there and peddles his heart out. And he finally gets to go for a bike ride.
The picture of Scott working like crazy to get that bike up a hill is a very meaningful one for me. I think of God’s love for us kind of like this tandem bike. God does the steering, the sweating, the balancing. He takes us along the road, on adventures, and to our ultimate destination. He gets on that bike with us so that we will never have to ride alone. But we are expected to peddle our hearts out!
When we feel that we can no longer push those peddles, he takes the slack. “I am with you always,” he says. And while we stare down at our tired feet, we can trust that he guides our path and carries us because his love is a bicycle built for two.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths,” (Proverbs 3:5).
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An update on Elijah: Some of you may also remember that last year our family made a pilgrimage to Lourdes.
I will never forget my sadness when Elijah came out from the waters and immediately challenged his younger sister to a race, hoping that he was cured and could now defeat her.
Elijah was not “cured.” But the funny thing is that instead of his strength decreasing, as would be expected by this age, his is still increasing. He does things now that would never have happened a year ago. His diagnosis and prognosis have not changed, but as it stands today Elijah is doing “amazingly and unexplainably well.” The doctors have called him their superstar because they just can’t quite figure it out. One doctor even asked if he could record Elijah in action so that he could show his colleagues.
Sadly, most boys his age with muscular dystrophy are in wheelchairs and completely dependent on their parents. Elijah delivers newspapers, gives his little brother piggyback rides, and runs and jumps around. I am so spiritually aware of and grateful for the prayers that others offer for him. Father Bryan Duggan once prayed over Elijah that he would have the gift of a childhood, and for now, that is what he has. So nothing in the long run has changed. But for today, Elijah has his childhood, and he keeps on peddling.