Loneliness Can Be a Long Ride
I hadn’t showered or brushed my teeth, and the kitchen was an explosion of Caleb’s culinary arts project from the night before, so I sat down and watched a two-hour documentary this morning with my husband. (Do you see the reasoning that went on there?)
The cameras followed over a dozen men and one woman, as they raced on bicycles from Banff to Mexico over the Continental Divide.
It was painful to watch the riders cover hundreds of miles and then slowly start dropping out of the race one by one. We winced when the bikers stopped at the end of the day and pulled off their shoes and socks, to reveal huge blisters and swollen ankles. The man leading the race described sometimes falling asleep at night with food hanging out of his mouth, too tired to finish eating. But it wasn’t the physical wear that made them want to quit.
It was the head game.
Lean men had ridden bicycles over the Rocky Mountains, through grizzly country and over snow-packed trails, but they sat and wept because they were lonely on the ride.
Solitude was eating away at perseverance.
The one woman in the race said every hour she began to ask herself, Why should I keep going? But she was the only one on the road who could answer the question. A few times in the race she quit, but then she would stop for the night and be encouraged over the phone by her husband to keep going. At one point her family showed up in a “fan van”, and they told her she had to finish. So far she is the only woman to have finished the race.
I’ve been pounding God with this visceral cry every night, after I hang up the phone from talking to my newly widowed mother.
How can she be alone? How can she be one flesh with my dad for 46 years and now she’s just alone? What reason will she have to wake up in the morning and take a shower and live again –alone?
My mom’s solitude has been ripping a gash in my heart.
But now look at how God put this documentary in front of me, and do you see how wise I was to let the dishes sit for a few hours?
Here is truth, and you need this to land in your heart, too:
There is a solitude each person must face in this life, at one time or another, and it is a head game no one can win for someone else.
I told Matt, A race is what my mom is doing emotionally. She has just started out in Banff and has to get to Mexico -pedal stroke after pedal stroke. And she has to do it on her own. No one can do it for her.
Matt said to me, And you are the fan van.
That’s all we can be for another person –the encourager. You can do it. Don’t quit. I know it hurts, but look how far you’ve come.
There is a head game for everyone –a head game your husband has to win at work, a head game your sick family member has to get through, and a head game your child has to overcome in order to grow up and live life.
We cannot ride that race for them.
But we can be on the phone and in the follow car and waiting with a piece of pie when they stop for a breather.
Cheering. Always cheering.
“Therefore, encourage one another…” (1 Thesalonians 5:11 NIV)
Hi Christy, I stumbled across your blog this morning and as I read it I find myself crying for you, and for me. My Dad died late last year, two days after my parents 45th wedding anniversary. Sometimes I don’t know what is worse, the loss I feel, or the concern I feel for my Mum who is now alone. But you are right, we can’t ride someone elses race, we just have to cheer loudly from the fan van. Thankyou for sharing and for your encouraging words.
Oh Heather, I’m so sorry. A year isn’t very far out from so much pain. My parents’ 46th anniversary would have been in a week. It is so hard to see our moms alone, yes? I’m trusting God will surprise mom with his grace as she learns how to live this new life. I’m saying a prayer for you right now -may God continue to heal your soul, and may he take care of every need your mom has.
Thanks for taking the time to write me.
Praying for your mom at bedtime.
Thank you so much!
So true, but as a mom, I still try to fix things for others. But in my heart I know that there is only so much I can do. Thanks for the reminder Christy.
I was wishing someone had given me this advice before my daughter entered middle school. I felt like I had to fix everything she struggled with. If only I had worked to encourage her and relaxed at the fact that I couldn’t DO life for her.
Thanks for the encouragement today! Blessings to you and your family.
Thanks, Angie. We can use those blessings right now.
Such a wonderful post.. thank you for the beautiful insight.
And thank you for the kind words, Mary.
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