This reflection has taken nearly six months to write. It began as a vacation highlights blog and became a thankfulness letter. It morphed from giddy girl-like excitement from our time away on the East Coast to a deep gratefulness for life and my family. The title of my post says it all in five words. Back in the saddle again. For my beloved and me and for our son-in-law.
After a few years of challenging health for my beloved, we wondered (to ourselves) if we would be able to do a long haul motorcycle trip ever again. We have bountiful memories from our travel and we are deeply grateful. We don’t take these things for granted. We understand that these opportunities are fleeting. We also understand that life itself can change forever in a few precious seconds.
As the beginning of 2017 settled upon us, my beloved was realizing a few perceptible gains in his health. We tentatively wondered if it might be possible to think about motorcycle travel in the future. Our questions were answered as we put together a simple plan that would see us on the East Coast of Canada to visit family and friends with our return encompassing a Bay of Fundy ‘island hop’ between Campobello and Deer islands, a ‘bucket list’ trip to Martha’s Vineyard and a gentle return through the Berkshires and the Adirondacks.
As time drew closer we were excited as it seemed our plan was moving forward. Our hearts were joyful that we could be ‘back in the saddle’ again. Everything continued to come together and before we knew it – my beloved was off with the bike while I was to join him to start the journey in New Brunswick.
We had so many wonderful visits with loved ones! Our love tank was re-filled. Our ‘need to eat fish’ tank was being filled with delicious offerings. Our gas tank started racking up the miles. God provided beautiful sun and safety as we marvelled at whales in the bay from the front porch of our Campobello Island B and B and watched the sunset over the lighthouse at Head Harbour. We stopped at a local shop on Deer Island where I marvelled at the amazing art of Natasha Miller (her pictures of local life are brought alive through charcoal and pops of colour). We meandered through slow roads in Maine, always having lobster sandwiches for lunch at McDonald’s. Martha’s Vineyard was a slice of New England ‘cottage’ life that we found fascinating. More fish meals and beach walking and people watching. We reluctantly, yet gratefully started the journey back through mountain ranges and gentle valleys. What a ride! Together on the motorcycle again – simple pleasures with my sweetheart.
Our arrival home was a welcome one and we spent the following few days in re-establishing our work routines…until the following Sunday changed everything. Our son-in-law, himself a cyclist, was involved in an accident that re-defined what ‘back in the saddle again’ might mean to all of us. I had been thinking most of my vacation that I would write a piece about this topic – but the plan for the original script was shattered. How on earth could I even begin to think about this now when our son-in-law was lying in a bed having been knocked out of his saddle? It couldn’t happen. Our prayer was that someday it could be written.
So the second part of this rejoicing note is that with the healing hand of God, awesome doctors and true grit….our son-in-law is alive! What could have been a day of tragedy – God spared our family of that horrendous possibility. Healing is happening. While it is a huge climb – he is able to tackle each day with the help of our Healer. The story is a very complicated one – but suffice it to say – we were overwhelmed to be able to celebrate this Christmas season together. While cycling isn’t occurring, we felt that we had our ‘back in the saddle’ moment over turkey and cranberry sauce. It could have been ‘A Different Kind of Christmas’ (Mark Schultz) for sure….but GOD.
Life is fragile, handle with prayer we say…but there was no other visual more stark than these past six months. Health had prevented us from being on the motorcycle – my sweetheart’s passion. Our son-in-law is prevented from a sport he loves. Everything has changed. However our Healer and Deliverer made some special things possible. ‘We get knocked down, yet we are not destroyed’ (2 Corinthians 4:9) Scripture instructs us. What a beautiful promise of HOPE! This New Year’s Eve we are rejoicing together in all that God has done in our lives.