I spent this past weekend with 32 women.  No — this not an episode of true confessions.  I was part of a weekend spiritual retreat that was for women, but the organizer saw fit to ask me to participate and bring may perspective on matters of basic Christianity and what it means to be a disciple.

This wasn’t the first time I have participated in these events, both ones geared toward women and toward men.  This was the first time I was smart enough to take the following Monday off work in order to “rest” and “recover”.   Fat Chance!

cycling uphillAbout 10 am Monday morning I found myself trying to catch my breath as I walked my bike up the last few yards of a very steep hill along the towpath bike trail.   It was only the beginning of a long day.  It was a fun and pleasant day.  But the bike ride turned into more than anticipated.  We were meeting my son-in-law at a popular Akron eatery whose parking lot borders the trail.  He would have a bike rack on his car and we could simply ride back to the start point and be done…..  Fat Chance!

The ringleader of this trip was my daughter, who convinced me to tackle the return trip.  Seemed like a great idea.   Apart from the hill at the end — it was a very pleasant and fairly level trail.   Some factors weren’t considered.   We hadn’t tackled a trip of over 10 miles anytime recently.   We were pedaling back against a strong headwind.   I was still tired from the weekend.   I am getting old….

……So.  We got back to car and loaded the bikes.  As we got to the car park my daughter noticed an “older couple” who came from the other direction as they put there bikes on their car rack.  She pointed out how quickly they moved and that they were loaded and gone before us.   Yeah — I was moving pretty slowly.

Thinking back over all of this — the entire long weekend — I realized that as disciples we need such times.  We need those times in our spiritual walk that stretch us.  Those times which totally wear us out, but leave us pleased at what has been accomplished.

I might be a mission trip. Or perhaps attending a retreat that pushes our thinking to new levels.  It may be leading someone else to a new level of spirituality.  Whatever it is — we need it.  It keeps us fit and ready for service.  It may hurt a bit.  It may lead to our being uncomfortable.  But it is worth it.

Just got a text from my daughter — proposing a ride later today of about 7 miles.  Fat Chance!

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