Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bicycles & Life As We Know It

Today marks the one year anniversary of returning home from serving as a full-time missionary in the Washington Spokane Mission. It seems funny to think that the way you keep time as a missionary is by how much time you have left before you go home. Anyone who says they didn't think about that is a liar. It isn't a bad thing necessarily, unless it prevents you from doing the work you have been sent to do. It is what it is. What is really ironic is how you still keep track of time in terms of your mission, in this case, how far away you are from the day you came home. So much has happened, changed, and moved forward at a startling speed. I'm sure that when I am married I will keep track of time by how long I've been married...and then kids....and then I'll be an old man one day and probably won't remember what day of the week it is.

Anyway, to celebrate my one year anniversary of being home we decided to re-image our newly acquired bike (thanks to Will and Hannah). I figured that a little reminder of how much I hated riding around in dark slacks and white shirt (surprisingly comfortable..) underneath the blistering sun while being convinced that someone was going to throw something at me as my companion and I rode down a dangerously narrow and busy road. It only happened once or twice. I remember a stick and a drink. The stick bounced off the helmet, the drink...not so much. God bless those hard and terribly awkward shaped skull caps. I also remember when my bike was stolen and the thief was kind enough to leave his bike as a token of appreciation for mine. I was surprisingly calm as I rode this low rider bike with an almost-falling-off seat back to our apartment that day. I think it was because I was in that beautiful first 6 months period of your mission where anyone can do almost anything to you and all you can do is love them for some sickening reason. I was upset but quickly got over it as I took pride in the new bike I bought: a Raleigh M-80 that had gone through 2 generations of previous missionaries and would now endure another generation of torture and use at my hands. I am proud to say that it lasted the rest of my mission and was passed on to someone who needed it to get back and forth to work.

The bike was a combination of a hideously bright orange and white color scheme that reminded me of the something out of the seventies. It is a cruiser bike with a pretty hefty seat for even the cushiest rear end. I decided to take it out of the back of Bethany's car one day while she was in class. The back seat had to be laid down to get the bike in there for it's journey from SLC to Rexburg. I heard it went in pretty easy but getting it out was another story. Somehow I managed to lift the seat up and get it caught on the seat belt (which conveniently decided we were in the middle of a car wreck and would NOT release so that I could lower the seat again) and could not get it out. I was sweating and in a fit of desperation turned the AC on with all the doors open because I was getting so hot trying to get this bike out. I'm not sure what I was thinking now that I look back on the situation. The only thoughts in my head are one's I am too ashamed to repeat out loud. Something about cars..

Long story short, I took bike apart to get it out only after being secretly embarrassed in front of Bethany that I couldn't get it out to begin with. We have moved on since this incident.

I gave the bike a few days alone as punishment before I worked on it again and after a few cans of spray paint and some tender words of encouragement she looks great!

Ultimately, I realized that fixing this bike was a lot like my year of being home from serving a mission. It hasn't always been easy and in the middle of things can make you cuss under your breath. In the end though, life is beautiful. It requires some hard work and taking a step back from time to time to know what to do.

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