The Peddler

So today there is a torrential wind storm in Texas. I am serious about this. I saw it on CNN. It said..."Windstorm" and something about high burn risk, so smokers, please...don't throw your cigarette butts to the wind, you will burn our state up.

It is insane outside. The trees look like they will be uprooted and fly away, the wind is literally tearing through them at a veracious speed. Houses are coming unglued from the ground (so add that to the housing list woes) and forget about driving if you have a little car like mine, it is almost impossible to keep your wheels to the road. The most entertaining is trying to watch people get out of their cars and walk into buildings. I just saw a six foot tall man cowering down and running, he was teeter tottering from side to side, he barely made it.

So in the midst of this wind storm I am driving to the doctor this morning and I see the greatest thing ever. An older guy, maybe 60ish, is straight up on a BIKE peddling down the street. Yep, not on the sidewalk, but the right hand lane of the road. He has a veterans flag, and an American flag on the bike that are flapping crazy like in the wind, a big basket on the front of his bike, and about twelve over sized reflectors on this thing. He is holding up, I would say, a good ten cars behind him.

I pulled up behind him, switched lanes to get a better look, and just died laughing.

His hair is blown back and probably blowing off, his lose skin around his neck and his cheeks are just flapping away in the wind (imagine old lady arm flab being jiggled times about ten), his shirt is clinging to his body for dear life, and he looks like he is peddling straight into a hurricane. He is barely making progress at all. He appears to be grunting, he has a serious face, and he is peddling with intense determination.

Normally this would annoy me. I mean, come on, what an idiot! But this morning it totally made me laugh. That is so me. That idiot is me. I mean, didn't he watch the weather? What was he thinking as he turned the first corner and realized the wind was blowing at like 90 miles an hour? Did it cross his mind that perhaps he could not beat the wind? Man against nature? Man verses wild. Really, nature generally wins, it has the upper hand.

It so reminded me of me. He looked ridiculous, but you had to applaud the effort, stupid as it seemed. He was desperately fighting. And I figure there are two basic reasons behind his valiant effort. The first that I already mentioned is: just a stubborn idiot. His wife probably said, "honey it's windy, there's no way you can ride that bike." At which point he looked at her with egotistical, stubborn, pride and said..."Oh I can do it." Classic strong person, idiot statement. I know, I do this all the time. And then I spend lots of moments fighting the wind, holding up traffic, kicking myself for trying to be tough, and feeling humbled because, yeah, I should have listened to others and taken their advice. Instead, I got people honking at me and I am trying not to topple over and be run down by an angry driver.

On the other hand, maybe he didn't have a wife. Maybe he doesn't have a car. Maybe he really needed to get somewhere today and his only real option was his bike. So he got it out. He dreaded the wind. He worried about his own safety. But his destination at the end meant more than his fear, and so, reluctantly he got on his bike and peddled as hard as he could into the wind and tried not to focus on the angry drivers behind him and the girl looking at him and laughing. That is valiant and strong. That is fighting when it is not the easiest or most desirable thing to do...

I have done that too. Perhaps you have as well.

I am not sure what his story was. All I know is it made me laugh and think about all the times when I am arrogantly strong. And then all the times when I am terrified and forced to be strong. It is funny that when I am arrogant I stay strong so that I will not be proven wrong, even if it means threatening my own well being, I don't quit, I keep peddling out of pride. And then when I am the most weak, I do not quit then either. I keep going, but this time not out of arrogance, because this strength that comes when I am weak and afraid, doesn't come from me.

There is a huge difference. I feed my arrogant strength. Christ supplies my strength in weakness. Both are hard. But only one will ultimately get me through a crazy windstorm when I am peddling for dear life.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9