Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pedaling my prayer

Last week I “pedaled my prayer” on a five-day, 385-mile bicycle ride up a few hills and down again through the Fox River Valley in Wisconsin, from Watertown to Green Bay and back. Sixty-two riders breathed in the fragrance of Wisconsin’s dairy farms, waved to the black and white cows in the fields, admired the lush green tidiness of the state, and tried to laugh off the drenching rain on one of our days of riding.

I was a little worried at the start: Could I manage to bike 68 miles a day?

As it happens any time we successfully step outside our comfort zone, I felt a great sense of accomplishment when I did manage, even on the toughest day when we faced the big 3: hills, headwinds and heat.

And I truly did pedal my prayer because bicycle tires going ‘round and ‘round remind me of prayer beads, and it was easy, as I pedaled, to fall into the cadence of “Jesus, mercy, Christ, have mercy.” Or, “God loves me, Jesus loves me.”

Think about a time when you stepped out of your comfort zone and succeeded in something you weren’t sure you could do. I remember a woman who attended one of my women’s talks and who said to me afterwards: “I found the courage to start law school at age 42 once I discovered I could stand on my head in yoga class.”

Whatever the accomplishment, we feel, “Hey, if I could do this, why I can do that scary thing over there.” And isn’t that how we grow, psychologically and spiritually, throughout our lives?