by Michael Grussing
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
On a bike ride just a couple days ago.... as our Minneapolis community was just entering this painful season, God started revealing a few things to me.
Gravel roads are my choice of bike paths... I grew up on them... I used to drive a truck that would spread fresh gravel on them...and I have helped rebuild ones that were old and torn up. Also, the vehicles on them are generally moving slower, are not texting and driving, and are much less frequent than roads or streets...and they wave.
I've yielded to the more aggressive mountain bike trails (I fall enough on flat land) and really enjoy the struggle, and beauty of gravel roads.
|Yield Ahead. (photo by Michael Grussing)
One of the keys to riding long distances on gravel is "riding the line"... Lines are areas in the road with less loose gravel that are made smooth and firm, from the vehicles that have gone over them recently...these lines are usually more stable and predictable than the rest of the road.
Water is not kind to gravel roads, or to vehicles traveling on them, or any road. Drainage is important. The highest point is in the middle... the crown... so that water can drain off into the ditches on either side, preventing soft spots, pot holes and such.
Sometimes, these "lines" are hard to find. It's impossible after the road grader has gone over them and redistributed the gravel evenly over the road again. A clean slate per se, but often a more difficult ride. Yet, without this gravel road maintenance, they deteriroate and become full of holes and washboard making travel more difficult and the roads deteriorate much quicker...needing to be totally rebuilt.
|Gravel Road grader. (photo by Michael Grussing)
So, as I'm riding a couple days ago, I was struggling more than usual to finding good lines to ride...there were some stretches on the right...and some stretches on the left....both provided firm, stable footing for my tires. But, as often is the case (80% of the time I'd say) when lines aren't clear, the Crown of the road was solid.
As I reaching my intended turn around point, I was out in the open (it was windy!) and I wanted to eat and drink something out of the wind...a line of trees was in the not to far distance, so I added a bit to my ride.
It was there, after I'd eaten, drank and rested a bit, that I noticed a sign right by me, previously unnoticed, that said "Yield Ahead". This was a clear affirmation, to me, of an honest admission that really struck me... from a FB friend in response to the murder of George Floyd...
"I personally had to take a moment (Yield) when I saw this image and ask myself some hard questions.... The older I get the more I realize that there is still so much I do not understand."
I was struck, and convicted, with this sense of Yielding... Yielding to this moment and to his / my prior understanding of circumstances that lead us to this current season of pain. A moment of Pause... A Yielding to our limited understanding...of many, many things.(I lack the understanding to comment on the current situation. .. I could comment from the line I've often rode on the right side...and i can acknowledge a line in the left side.)
|Lines on a gravel road. (photo by Michael Grussing)
As I struggled back, keeping my head down into the wind, I rode the crown of the road...sensing the lines on the left and right would give way, especially with going against the wind, and I could wind up in the ditch.
My father in law used to send us off with "Keep it out of the ditches"... It's been many years since I've heard that voice, but I heard it clear during that ride.
The ditches are where those that have grown tired, and coasted into the ditches on either side of the rode reside... Low areas where we can't see those on the other side, or have to cross paths with them... But they are still within a stones throw away.
I know the ditches... I've coasted into them and got stuck, and found myself not able to gravel on. I had to get off and walk myself back into the road and start riding again.
Though the line on The Crown is often difficult to see, and verbal stones from the Right and Left ditches may try to knock me from it, it offers a firm and reliable ride...i will Trust it and stay on it, even when it's often hard to see.
Also, I will "Yield Ahead" when I lack the Wisdom to travel this new road... on which the line of the road, provided by the Crown, is made clear by James 3:17.