On this side of the western world, it’s been one year.

One year of trying. One year of failing. One year of encouraging. One year of prodding. Sometimes gently. Sometimes a little too strong. Lord, forgive me. But it has all been worth it.

A lazy afternoon.  I’m tired on this Sunday.  It’s been a long morning.  But warmer weather is sneaking into March eager for spring, and so is my daughter as she tugs on my leg wanting to go outside.

Out we go.  But only to do one thing we’ve been doing this year.

Mastering that two-wheel bike.

We’re not much of a bike culture on this side of the western world.  Unless it’s a Harley Davidson, of course.  And I don’t ride my bike to work that often. Unless, a stroke of insanity dances across my brain.  It did one day.  So I took out my bike worn from its college days and whispered, “It’s just you and me baby.”  To the road we flew taking the route I am so familiar with each morning.  The freedom.  The thrill.  The work.  Now I’m sweating.  And complaining.  Will I get there?

But there’s no complaining from my daughter on this day. Or this side of the western world.  She wants to ride her bike.  She wants to stare down that asphalt that has taken skinned knees.  But most importantly she wants to know.  Do I have her back?

Yes I do sweetheart.

Will you catch me if I fall?

Yes.

Will you help me as I ride?

Yes.

Do you think I can do this?

Yes. And I will be running alongside of you never taking my eye off of you.

She grips the handlebars.  The white around her knuckles shows.  Relax.  She takes a deep breath.  She straps on the helmet of her salvation, protecting her skull.  Bludgeoning from the rock-hard pavement is not in the schedule today.

And not on my watch.

She’s ready.

We set out along the driveway.  I hold her shoulders. She begins to pedal.  I’m holding. Running.  She wobbles with the wheel.  My grip is firm. She’s pedaling.  I’m running. Faster.  And it happens so fast. Time stops.

I’m no longer holding. She’s riding.

I keep running.  I’m cheering her on. But she’s focused. She hasn’t taken this one year on just to share a few moments of glory on the driveway.  The road is on her sights.

I’m breathing faster. Running beside her. Holding my hands out just in case.  She turns.  The road is hers. No turning back. I cheer out loud.  Who cares about the neighbors right now.  I want the whole world to hear.

I watch her ride.  The wind whipping her hair. Her legs pumping the pedals.  And the joy that spreads to her heart as she glides into the sunset.  One year rolling by.

On this side of the western world.

But there’s another world.  I want to ride. I want to gaze into the bright Son and feel His presence, like the wind hitting my face.  But I still ask. Do you have my back?

Yes.

Will you catch me if I fall?

Yes.

Will you help me as I ride?

Yes.

Do you think I can do this?

Yes. And I will be running alongside of you never taking my eye off of you.

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