I knew it would happen … eventually.
Almost everyone that I have ever talked to about clip-in cycling shoes warns of the lesson that must be learned.
I have so dubbed it “The Obligatory Clip-Out Fall.”
It seems that every.body who cycles has done it … at least ONCE.
As wonderful as clip in shoes may be, they come with risk. You see, when you clip into your pedals, you become one with the bike. There is an extra movement required to stop and dismount the bike. Until the movement becomes natural, you must make a conscious effort to slightly rotate your foot, moving your right heel, for example, from 6:00 to 5:00, to disengage the shoe from the pedal. If you aren’t paying attention, there is a good chance that, at some point, you’re going to forget to clip out.
With your foot attached to the pedal,
you will not be able to extend your leg to the ground for balance
and you will simply fall over …
still clipped into your pedal(s).
I was so proud of myself. I had been cycling for at least three months with my new shoe-and-pedal system without a fall. But, a few weeks ago, I pulled into a quick mart store parking lot to use their bathroom, stretch and grab a bite to eat. I clipped out on the left …
lost my balance
and my bike tipped right.
I was … slightly embarrassed by my fall though I wasn’t even certain anyone saw it. I scraped my knee ever.so.slightly. The scrape was small and not very deep. I fell onto a smooth, white concrete curb. I can’t even say that it hurt … at all. And it hardly even bled. When I first fell, a tiny trickle of red trailed down my shin. I wiped that away, placed the band-aid on and saw almost no more blood at all from that point until it was fully healed.
But, the strangest thing happened.
The day AFTER the fall, I began to feel discomfort. My knee hurt when I sat down … pulling the skin taut across my body. And it hurt when I stood up, as well. My wound throbbed. Though it never oozed or got “yukky,” my knee began to really bother me about seven to ten days after my fall. I even found myself taking Tylenol or ibuprofen on several afternoons.
But, it never looked like much of an injury. It certainly didn’t draw attention to itself as some lesion that had an awesome, adventurous story behind it. I looked more like I had tripped over my own two feet and met textured, Berber carpet more than anything else.
But … oh, the residual pain.
The thought that rattled around in my brain for the three weeks it took for that scab to finally heal, loosen and free itself completely was how much this injury is like my sin. There is a spiritual/physical parallel here.
When we first “fall,” there may be almost no immediate discomfort. We may have been in an area that was safe for us … but we fell anyway. And we may have done all the right things to make sure that we wouldn’t fall … but we became off-balance we tipped in the wrong direction and met trauma. There may be a trickle from the wound, but all-in-all, the injury may not really hurt that much … upon initial impact. But, as the healing begins, the pain may show up. It may seem to take a ridiculous amount of time for the wound to completely heal. We may need to question our activities and ask ourselves if the “fall” is worth the activity? Is there risk that this may happen again? Will it be worth the pain? We may not understand WHY such a small infraction could take SO long to heal. We may wonder why people don’t notice our injury and query us about the healing process … ask us about our pain … and how it happened. But, they may be oblivious because the external evidence looks so “average” … while we know, the pain is not.
There are sins that have little to not effect on the people around us … but they still hurt us. They make us withdraw. They throb and cause discomfort as they are pulled tight in healing.
I’m thankful for this knee abrasion. I learned a lot as I experienced the healing process. I pray that I would be reminded of the lessons when I next lose my balance and fall.
Because, sometimes, the injury is worth the risk
simply because we learn so much through the pain of healing.