Monday, July 20, 2009

11 Years Old Again

I was 11 years old again yesterday. I was riding my bike to my mom's house for a cookout. It is the house I grew up in. In the midst of a full day, I wanted to squeeze in a bike ride and so I decided I'd ride to the cookout and the kids would ride in the car with Katie, along with a change of clothes for me.

I left a bit early so I could get in a few extra miles. I wasn't going to go too crazy because I was still recovering from an awesome week at CHIC, but I wanted a few more miles than a straight ride would give me. Away I rode and eventually came to a place where any one of three streets would take me to my eventual destination. I was feeling tired at this point (not to mention sad about being tired after such a short ride, but hey, CHIC will do that to ya) but I still wanted to hit one more hill. I knew the street with the best climb (best= hardest of the three) (I'm a terrible climber and you can only get better doing it) but in the end I chose the last street, the one furthest away. Why? Because being near my old neighborhood reminded me of my childhood.

As a youngster I would ride my bike around my neighborhood, carefully avoiding the "busy" streets, because that was the rule imposed by mom and dad. Most days, unless there was a particular destination, I rode a loop around my neighborhood and choosing the last street to turn on would allow me to ride that loop again. And I did. It felt great to ride that loop and reminisce about the many times I'd done so previously, both with and without friends.

Some time ago Tony Myles likened the experience of learning to ride a bike to freedom. (You can check it out here.) There is a certain amount of freedom I felt riding my bike, even though I had to avoid the "busy" streets. But that's the way freedom is, right? I mean, could we have freedom without boundaries? I don't think so.

Many people try to throw off all limitations in the name of freedom. But a life without boundaries is ultimately a life that is self-directed. A self-directed life (if it is to be truly self-directed) must exclude community lest others in our community influence us. It must throw off other outside influences too, because hey, I'm in charge here and you can't tell me what to do. The ultimate in individualism. The ultimate freedom. Self imposed solitary confinement, baby. Hey wait a second...solitary confinement?

Yeah, maybe what we often mistake for freedom is actually the worst form of imprisonment there is.

1 Peter 2:
16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves.

Keep on rockin' in a free world.


Blogger Jay R said...

Kris Kristofferson says "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to loose." But I suppose that has to do more with life on the road and I don't think he meant riding your bike.

4:34 PM  

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