with me (and Peter) when he accepted my terms and loaded the
bicycle into our van. Now, one year after bringing the bike
home with us, I felt a sense of urgency as the neglected
piece of nostalgia still leaned against an outside wall of our
garage—with less than three months until our relocation to
Illinois, we were running out of time.
Bill must have felt the same way because,
before the week was over, he located a shop that specialized in
restoring antique bicycles and entrusted it to their care.
“Do you like this seat?” Bill asked a few
“Don’t you want another banana seat?” I
“That’s not the seat that it came with,” Bill
explained. “Grandpa put the banana seat on when he fixed it
up for me.”
“Whose bike was it before you got it?”
“My dad had it when he was a boy.”
Hearing that the bicycle had been in the family
since the late 1940s made me glad that I had agreed to bring
it back to Lincoln. It also made me want to find out more
about my husband’s childhood treasure.
“The bike was a new Western Flyer from the
Gambles Store,” Bill’s dad explained after I e-mailed him
for more information. “I wanted to ride real bad, but it was just
too big and too heavy.”
“Dad took the seat off and put two
gunny sacks around where the seat was,” he added. “I still remember Mom helping me on and going
down the hill east in our yard,” he added. “I think I had to
fall to get off.”
The more I learned about its history, the
more excited I was for the repair shop to say that it was
finished. When the day finally arrived, our whole family
went to pick it up.
“We’re going to get the lucky bike!”
Katie exclaimed as she climbed into the van.
At eight-years-old, Katie was the same age
Bill was when he won the race in 1976. She would be the
third generation to use the Western Flyer. Like Katie’s
father and grandfather when they first tried to climb on the
her legs were not long enough to reach the ground. Still,
insisted on riding it as Bill pushed it out of
Who knew that it had this much potential? I
thought to myself as Bill rolled the Lucky Bike—and
Katie—toward our van. The rusty green frame had been sanded
down and painted a vibrant red to match the
1965 Chevy pickup that Bill restored before graduating from high school.
Seeing how amazing the bike looked made me
glad that we went to the effort to repair it. It also made me curious:
relationships are like this bicycle when it was alone
and in need of attention?
Immediately after asking myself this
question, I pictured a nursing home full of senior citizens
and wondered how many would go another week without
a visitor. My next mental images were of parents waiting to
hear from children who long ago left the nest and couples
who have drifted apart after work and other priorities
came between them.
All of us at one point or another have had to
decide whether to invest in or divest ourselves of a
relationship. Looking back at the months leading up to our
move made me realize that I was guilty of the latter as I put
my current life on hold to prepare for a new one. From the
moment we learned that our relocation was approved by Bill’s
company, I stopped volunteering at church, helping with
school functions, and organizing nights out with other moms.
As I suspected,
current home and finding a new one consumed most of my time. Still, despite the busyness, I
eventually came to realize that I couldn’t let go of my
friends any more than Bill could let go of his bike. Even if
I saw them once a year or once every five years, I had to
do my part to hold on.
Relationships worth keeping are worth
keeping in good condition. This was my mantra as I collected
e-mail addresses and researched the best way to keep in
touch with family and friends after the move.
My love for the
people we were leaving behind also
prompted me to plan our own
going away party.
It’s easy to think that recognizing a relationship is the
other person’s responsibility; especially when we are the
ones who are celebrating a special birthday or—in our
case—moving away. While it’s natural to want people to do
their part to wish us well and keep in touch after we are
gone, this goes against the ways of Jesus who “did not come
to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom
It also goes against the reality that many
will be unwilling or unable to live up to our expectations.
I learned this the hard way after the move when friends I thought I would always stay close to began to drift away.
And for the first time I felt like I was the rusty bicycle,
waiting for someone to invest in a relationship with me.
Knowing how it felt to wait for
someone to reach out to me raised a question:
Does God feel the same way as He waits for us to dust off a
bible or come to Him in prayer?
As I think of all the times I kept God
waiting, it's tempting to conclude that my relationship
with Him is like the bicycle when I thought it was beyond repair.
remember the friends who did keep in touch after the move and how,
whenever they e-mailed or came to visit, it was like a fresh
coat of paint had been applied to our relationship.
Seeing how a minimal investment of time can
do wonders to restore an object or a friendship leads me to believe that God will take us back,
no matter how long we let the cobwebs grow on our
The cobwebs grew on Bill's bike for more than two decades
before we brought it back to Lincoln to fix up. And although we
could probably sell it online for more than it cost to
restore it, I doubt we ever will. Instead, the lucky bike will
move with us wherever we go.
Peter Walsh said it best when he wrote: “Your home is a metaphor for your
life—it represents who you are and what you value.”[iv]
Lucky Bike, not just because Bill used it to win a race or
because I found a photo of
Bill's dad riding it when he was a boy. I
treasure the antique
because it reminds me that sometimes we have to be pulled
away from the busyness of life to find time for the basics
as we see that people, like possessions, are worth the investment
... and the best things in life are not for sale.
to Grow On
“What’s worth keeping is worth keeping in good
“The value you say an item holds for you must be
reflected in the place you give that item in your life,
otherwise your words have no meaning and the object is
little more than clutter.”
Peter Walsh, It's All Too Much, p. 37.
Peter Walsh, It’s All
Too Much, p. 135
Peter Walsh, It’s All
Too Much, p. 36
Peter Walsh, It’s All
Too Much, p. 13