Sunday, December 4, 2011

Our Cycling Son: On Being Struck Down But Not Destroyed

I'm sitting in the family minivan, sipping coffee and trying to warm up. In my rear view mirror I see our son cycle past with some cyclocross friends. We're waiting for the start of the Men's 14-18 Horseshoe Scramble cyclocross race here at a former horse farm in Warren NJ, a lovely area of rolling hills. And I am contemplating the resilience of children and the Presence that carries us.

Cyclocross, or CX,  is a kind of bike racing, a sport our son first discovered earlier this year and has embraced with great enthusiasm. Over the summer he worked two jobs, earning enough money to buy himself a cyclocross bike, at discount, for $800. He's spent the fall season racing. 

On Friday, he was hit and knocked into the road by a red SUV while cycling home with a buddy from a McDonalds  in a neighboring town. He was in a crosswalk. He felt unnerved and angry the driver sped off. The trip to the emergency room revealed he was badly bruised and nothing more. Thank God he was wearing his helmet. 

The next day, Gabriel remarked to me how, other than the driver, everyone else was so kind: his friend, who stayed by his side; the witnesses, who gave their names and their comfort; his friend's mother, who left work to pick the boys up and transport him home; his father, who left work to drive him to the emergency room and stayed with him for hours; his kid brother, who worried and then let mom know everything would be okay; his mom, who tag-teamed the ER visit with his dad; the nurses, orderlies and physicians at St. Peter's University Hospital, who tended to him; the neighbors and friends who called and offered their loving concern. 

I told him sometimes when bad things happen, it evokes Beauty in others. They would not have had the chance to show him lovingkindness had that driver not sped off.  

I also asked him if he really was going to compete Sunday, given his injuries. Cyclocross is an endurance sport; among other things it requires hoisting one's bike on a shoulder and carrying it over obstacles. How could he compete with his injuries? He assured me he'd been practicing carrying his bike on his other shoulder. This moved me deeply.  Surely a Presence watches over our son, lifting him up and guiding him.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4: 8-9).

He just knocked on the van window. What are you doing? What time is it? The race is starting. Aren't you going to watch?


  1. Oh my gosh- I am so sorry that happened, but I am glad that he could see the goodness. I'm really glad that he is OK!