I can’t completely describe the feeling I had as I watched my 86-year-old mother ride a bicycle this week. My first thoughts were filled with trepidation at the idea of a fall, but once she began those fears disappeared with every sure and steady push on the pedals.
She’d been telling us for several weeks that she wanted to ride a bicycle one more time. I must admit, our first responses were not very encouraging. We tried quite diligently to dissuade her, offering up a couple of “safer” options – what about a 3-wheeler? a stationary? No. Absolutely not. Nothing would do but that she ride a regular, old-fashioned bicycle. (Had she not mentioned it at church where a friend provided the bicycle, I’m sure we would still be dragging our feet in order to fulfill her wish.) Her mind made up and her plan in place, we could choose to participate or not. Either way, she was going to ride a bicycle after church.
She is in good health and has no reason to believe that death is at her door quite yet. But just in case, she lets us know when she thinks of something else she’s added to her bucket list. The list is made up of simple things. Some are places she’s never been but would like to go. We’re not talking about traveling abroad or to places of historic significance, but rather the fact that she’s never eaten at Joe’s Crab Shack, and things like that. But others, like this one, draw from the wellspring of vivid childhood memories which bring a smile to her face at just the thought of them.
My brothers and I were there to watch and take photos. Friends from church hung around in the parking lot and cheered her on. She didn’t know what all the fuss was about. She just wanted to ride a bike.
I watched her ride and the simplicity of the pleasure on her face almost brought me to tears. (Had I cried, she would have wondered what in the world was wrong with me, so years of training prevented me from yielding to emotions I could not explain.) Even as I look at the pictures today, I feel this strange sense of happiness and pride and love and sadness all mixed together and there are no words that adequately describe it. Now that she has a successful bike ride under her belt, she plans to swim and roller skate. And with all the objections my rational brain is tempted to raise, I suspect that I will make every effort to help her do exactly that. I will see her smile and be awash once again in emotions that stir me to my core. But I won’t cry. At least not where she can see me.
There is beauty in the simplicity of her heart and her life, a reminder to me to open my eyes. There are simple pleasures to be enjoyed in this life and I don’t want to miss them. She is teaching me still.
This is the day that the Lord has made.
I will rejoice and be glad in it.
“Simple pleasures” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com
Photograph by Kay Stinnett and cannot be used without permission.