By Dr. Marian Fritzemeier, Ed.D. ©2016
Today, June 25th, is a day to celebrate. It has been 81 days since I rode my bike on one of my regular 10 to 12 mile routes. For weeks I’ve only been riding on neighborhood streets. Then onto busier streets. A 3 mile loop finally ends at home.
Then a few weeks ago, I ventured a little further. I rode through ¼ of the roundabout on Coffee and Clarabelle. I’d been holding my breath hoping for no cars. Then unexpected tears. Tears of both relief and joy. You made it through part of the roundabout. You go girl!
I miss this. Being outside around nature and riding . . . fast. A few more tears of gratefulness and I’m safely home again, this time after 8 miles.
Today I ride 12 miles through ½ the roundabout, across Kiernan towards Highway 108, past the Kohl’s shopping center, and back home. A day like today needs a worthy celebration. A chocolate lava meltdown from Cold Stone is perfect for this occasion.
Why am I celebrating today? On March 5th I finished the 40-mile Blossom Trail Ride in Reedley. Exactly a month later I was in a bike accident. That accident was 81 days ago.
I was riding my bike to my nail appointment. A young truck driver got tired of waiting for the drivers in front of him to turn left onto busy Sylvan Road. He began backing up. I was behind him and yelled. All I remember is my bike going under the truck and being thrown off my bike.
Two ladies arrived to help. They took photos and obtained pertinent information. One called my husband. When my scared husband showed up, he was relieved to see me standing.
That night I wrote in my journal. “Lord, I’m thankful. It could have been much worse. I hurt my shoulder and bruised my elbow. Tonight my lower back started hurting. I feel lousy.”
But before I finished my journal my thankfulness turned to anger. “Lord, could you just give me a break? It’s hard enough dealing with my brain impairment. How much suffering do I need, to learn more about You? I could have left one minute earlier or later and not been hit.”
I didn’t tell very many people about the accident. I didn’t post it on Face book. I spent most of my time talking or I should say venting to one person – God.
Four days later I wrote, “I’m upset that I had another trial come my way. Some people are grateful and say, ‘It could have been worse.’ Well, it also could NOT have happened at all. I’m tired of trying day after day.”
“Why did this happen? Why would God make something I did to get better, now become a source of fear? It makes no sense. Why is life so continually hard?”
Before the accident I viewed bike riding as fun. It brought me great joy. Oh, and I got exercise too. Being outside in God’s world is the most peaceful activity I do.
It’s easy to view bike riding as an extreme sport only for thrill seekers. Riding is certainly not for older women. Or anyone else who isn’t crazy.
I still wish the accident hadn’t happened, but it did. My choice was how I’d respond to God and my accident.
I’m not mad at God anymore. I healed mentally and emotionally. My arm and shoulder are fine but my back still hurts. I had more residual strength than I realized and got back on track quicker than I anticipated. I got back on my bike and kept talking to God. My joy of riding gradually returned.
My daughter reminded me of the hundreds of miles I’d ridden when God protected me. God protected me the day of the accident too. At the time, however, I just didn’t see it.
I’m not a thrill seeker or crazy; however I am an older woman. I just want to ride . . . and I am. Right along with God at my side.