On my first attempt with The Tank, I set the record for the longest flight on Browns Creek. On the bounce after the splashdown, I owned the record for the second longest flight. Not bad for a morning’s work. I held those records until my brother, Jeff, broke them during our astronaut training program, but that’s a story for later.
Lying in the garden with a heavy bicycle attached to my leg, I considered the circle of life. We had buried several dead critters at the edge of thegarden, adjacent to the crash site, and I knew there were vacancies. I wished for a do-over of my jump, but reality does not work that way.
Moms have a closet full of wisdom and penetrating commentary. Like this gem–“If you fall out of that tree and break your leg, don’t come running to me!” Has that line ever stopped a kid from climbing the tree? As Mom surveyed the crash site, her first question was, “What were you thinking?”
How does a guy answer that? “I was thinking I could overcome the pull of gravity and leave the earth behind, if I had enough speed.”
As onlookers discussed my predicament, my brother, Rick, attempted to saw the crank and set me free. The rusted blade shattered on the fourth pull across the harden steel. Next chance for a saw blade would come when one of the dads returned from work that evening. Would the circling buzzards leave me be until then?
Some person had the idea of coating my leg with soap, turning the pedal in one direction, and pulling me in the other. My leg should pop free with a minimum of pain and discomfort. “Hey, buddy, want to trade places?”
I did not get a vote. Mom produced her bottle of lemon-fresh Joy, and the operation began.
It required several painful test pulls and a plethora of Joy before my former friends and relatives ciphered the correct procedure. I never knew it hurt so much to have someone pull your leg. A SQUOOSH announced I had achieved first stage separation from The Tank.
I was badly bruised, but the leg was not broken. Several days of ice packs and couch confinement followed. The Tank, with her bent pedal, flattened rims, and twisted handlebars, was finished. She was a champion, but her glory days of care-free biking were over.
Trying to live with a bike attached to my leg was not a workable strategy. That beast was weighing me down and preventing me from realizing my potential. It had to go, even if the extraction was painful. The writer of Hebrews understood weights and penned these words:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1,2 NASB
Weights hold us back, facilitate hopelessness, and ensnare us in a pattern of failure. We know we need to break free. We want to change even if the recovery is painful. We may need a friend to help. The process may seem like two steps forward and three steps back, but we persevere.
Living with the weight is not a good choice.