Just over a year ago friend, colleague and Bishop of Colorado Rob O’Neil was out doing something we both passionately enjoy – cycling. On this beautiful day he was, as he freely admits, “riding very aggressively.” As the saying goes, the next thing he knows… he is laying on the ground having done significant damage to his hip.
Last summer, Gretchen Roeck, associate priest at Trinity, Excelsior decided that she would take up cycling. Along the way I shared my passion and encouragement. Then one day I received the phone call: Gretchen had crashed on her bike and done some major damage to her elbow.
This last week I had the opportunity to spend time with both of them. Considering the severity of their accidents – surgeries, hospital stays, long rehabs – it would be easy to assume that they would not be interested in “getting back in the saddle.” You might be surprised to know that both are back on their bikes.
I would not describe Rob or Gretchen as thrill junkies. Rather, I think both know first-hand the inherent risk in what they are doing. They are taking the necessary precautions, and are still willing to get back in the game.
This last Saturday evening I had the pleasure of attending the inaguaral Spanish language service at St. Nicholas, Richfield. After months of conversations, planning and preparations these courageous folks set sail on a new adventure. Was it a huge crowd? No, but it was a good size gathering. Will the place at some point in the near future be filled to the rafters? Don’t know. What I do know is that all involved are committed to giving it their best shot.
As we have heard in our recent readings from the Gospel the disciples were very fearful following the crucifixion of Jesus. Yet, amidst that Jesus stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” We, too, can be easily seduced by our fears. Not the least of which is our fear of failure. And as such, we try to find our own safe place to hide. This, however, is not our calling, particularly as witnesses of the resurrection.
We are called to not become paralyzed by fear but rather to boldly live by faith. Willing even amidst setbacks, or unmet expectations to keep stepping forward, keep getting back on the saddle, knowing we do not do so alone but that Jesus walks – or in some case rides – with us.