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The Flying Bicycle
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Photo: Francisc Zinz
The day was gorgeous. A blue sky with a glowing orange sun shown down brightly on the mesh of pine needles and dirt that were rushing up to greet me and my BMX bicycle. As my front tire neared the earth I realized that riding my bike off of the pump house was probably a horrible idea after all. But let’s back up really quick.

This was not the first time I had gotten myself into a ridiculous and painful situation on account of my unwillingness to be branded as a coward, and my deep desire to be considered brave and perhaps on the edge of "Crazy Canyon." And even if you knew how much I wanted to be considered brave and tough, what in the world would prompt a twelve-year-old to ride a bike off of a pump house you might still ask?

The Lure of a Dare

My brother and my friend had tossed out those magical words that would get me to do anything; “I dare you.” On top of this, he and my friend said that they would do it, too, if I did it first. So there was no way I could not do it. Right?

As soon as they uttered the dare, I agreed. Their eyes were as wide as saucers and shining with glee at the prospect of seeing me ride off the roof. We loaded my bike onto the roof and I climbed up there with what felt nothing like butterflies (more like California Condors) churning in my stomach. But there was no turning back. A reasonable human would realize his idiocy and call the bluff of those who had offered the challenge, but not me!

My foot shook on the pedal and my knuckles wrapped white around the handle bars as I shoved off towards the edge of the roof. Instantly I was in flight! My front tire dropped gloriously off the edge of the roof and I plummeted weightlessly towards the ground--nose first. Upon impact, my nose slammed into the dirt and pine needles and immediately burst into a bloody mess under my crumpling body. As quick as I hit the ground I lunged to my feet demanding that my brother and friend do it immediately. They shook their heads and looked at me incredulously, “are you crazy?”

As I think about that experience, I wonder if I can be as "crazy" about sharing God's message of hope with our dying world? I hope I can be as fearless when it comes to matters of truth and social justice. I hope that no one will be able to label me a spiritual coward!

I would rather be a crazy messenger of hope, love and justice than a slave to a bland and sinful world.

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By Garrett Gladden. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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