In Times of Trouble
While mountain biking in the Alps, a man prayerfully problem-solves his way through a sticky situation.
Many years ago when I lived in France, I had an "aha" moment which to me is symbolic of every single moment. It was the first time I rode a mountain bike. I was in the Alps riding up a trail that I knew fairly well. I had hiked and run it many times. When I got to the ridge, I had to go along a narrow ledge and walk the bike. I was on the inside, and my bike was on the outside. There was a gap in the ledge that I had to cross. So I put one foot across it and then brought the front wheel across, holding the bike. And then I found I couldn't step forward with my other foot because of the overhanging rocks to my left. And I couldn't step back either without losing my balance.
There I was -- way up on the top of the mountain overlooking a beautiful green valley. The drop below me was a good 500 feet before the bike or I would hit anything. No one was around. I knew no one would be around. It's not a place where you see people. I was wondering how I was going to get down and out of there.
I had a problem presenting itself, and for quite a while I didn't know what to do. I couldn't figure out a solution the way I wanted it to work out. I don't know how long I balanced there. It seemed like ages to me. But I wasn't afraid. My peace stemmed from the fact that I was in a heavenly place. I was thinking of all my friends in London working in offices. I realized that although it could be the last few moments of my life on the planet, at least I was in a beautiful place.
Suddenly, it occurred to me that if I didn't have the bike, I could step across and use my hand to grab onto the rocks. I thought I could just drop the bike down, and at least I'd be saved. Then I could decide whether or not to hike down and get the bike or just buy it, as I had rented it. That had solved the problem of me not dying up there, even though it created another one. I started thinking of what to do with the bike.
As I looked at my position in relation to the ledge and the mountains, it just so happened that I saw an option. I was able to hold the bike with my right hand on the left handle grip and hold onto the rocks with my left hand and then lower the bike onto the ledge and wedge it there. Then I was able to step across, pick up the bike, and carry it for another 15 feet with one hand until I got to level ground where I could ride it again.
The problem was solved once I realized that I could just let go of the bike. But before I acted on it and dropped the bike down the mountain, the peace that it brought me allowed another solution to appear. The answer came that saved both me and the bike.
I've always believed in God -- in that wisdom that's available to us all the time. But we have to listen to it, trust it, and then obey it. And I've learned that when I'm presented with a problem that seems intense and impossible to solve, I need to get very quiet and peaceful and let go of something -- an attitude, a specific outcome, or my own limited way of looking at it. When we let go, the problem is solved. God gives us the answer. I've found that very freeing -- not holding onto a particular thing or point of view, but rather letting situations unfold in a peaceful way.
My whole process of living in the Alps was about letting go of things, of accustomed ways of living life, and trying to find different ways of living my life. This experience was a transforming adventure.