love stories

Reason sets up a market
and begins doing business
Love has more hidden work
~Rumi, Secret Places

For most of my life I have been the one on the receiving end of large acts of generosity. One Christmas in junior high, my family came home from the Christmas Eve service and two new bikes had showed up by our front door. It turns out a family member of the pastor had acquired two extra bikes, and asked him if there were any families he knew of who could use them.

The prior fall of that same year, an elderly man from our church had passed away. I don’t remember if my sister and I both wanted to go to the visitation, or if I wanted to go and if I, wanting company, asked and worked to get my sister to come with me. Dad was at work so he wasn’t going, and Mom was home with the kids, so she didn’t seem like she would be going. But we could still go, old enough now to ride across the town by ourselves.

We dressed up in the clothes we’d usually wear to school for basketball game days. They were not the most attractive clothes, and they were the only pair of pinstripe black “dress pants” I owned in those years. My sister often wore Mom’s sweaters and turtlenecks, as she was always bigger and closer to Mom’s size. I’d wear them to church and on game days too.

We didn’t have bikes, so we borrowed the little kid bikes of our siblings and rode across town to the evening visitation on bikes that were, to anyone with eyes to see, noticeably too small for us. I don’t remember the bike ride, if we grumbled half the time about the ridiculousness of these god darn bikes, or if we laughed and thought the entire thing was hilarious. I just remember wanting to get there. We hadn’t really known Oscar that well, but we’d known him, as we’d also more known Martha, his wife.

There was a male and a female bike on the porch. It was not a “perfect match” to me and my sister’s eventually forgotten about bike need situation. But when we pulled into the drive way and saw two new bikes kickstanded under the porch light, eventually moving them for the night into the darkness of the garage, I remembered our fall evening bike ride and wondered, “Could it be???” Could it be that God had seen me and my sister?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, another one of those “God stories”. How many of those have I heard told throughout the years. Quite a few, in fact. And as much as I can’t seem to find a way to frame a story so it’s not completely all about me or myself, I’m telling it anyway. I don’t remember whether or not me and my sister at some point argued over who would get the ladies bike and who would be the one, once again, stuck with some still not perfect and goofball situation riding around through the town on a mens bike. Perhaps in junior high we were mature enough by then to work out an agreement where we alternated bikes and gladly took turns. What I remember most now is having a bike, how we rode those bikes and enjoyed them immensely.

(Point of the story: God is real and He loves and provides.)

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