About 18 miles into a road bike ride with my husband, weary begins to replace the driven-ness to succeed in my goal to finish the ride. Or possibly the objective is to simply not admit defeat. Even if I am riding along a path without an incline…there is something about that 18 mile mark that devours my spirit. If you are fortunate enough to be riding with someone else, there is hope for your journey; rest and relief.
Noise from overhead draws my attention; a racket unrivalled by most, but one which occurs regularly this time of year. The trek of the geese. One never sees a lone goose in flight, they always travel in groups – flocks or skeins is the term that is used when they are in flight. But if they are flying in a v-formation they are referred to as a wedge. Have you ever watched a wedge of geese fly by? It is amazing how they all share in the hard work. Much like being in a pack of bikes riding through the streets, the goose that flies at the front is doing the majority of the work…the hardest part in fact, because as the others trail behind his lead, they slip into the airstream created by his flight and they are pulled along at his expense.
Nascar drivers do this to conserve fuel, geese do it to conserve energy. Road bike racers do it as well. When it seems as if they just can’t pedal one more rotation, they slide in behind another bike – right behind its wheel, and tuck their heads down to allow the air flow to pull them along – giving them needed rest for their legs; if just for a few moments.
My husband seems to sense when I am in need of this as he will move right in front of me and slow to my pace to give me the benefit of his strength. A moments respite. And even though I continue to pedal, the pull from the slip stream refreshes me…giving me hope that I may indeed finish the race.
As I refuel from behind, it occurs to me that there are other times in life in which we can utilize this lesson from above. Anyone who has ever undertaken a huge project, a large get-together or even simply a gathering of friends, knows that it is much easier work with another alongside.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
When you take on all of the work and responsibility without leaning on the abilities of another who desires to help, weariness and burnout are inevitable. Pedaling at top speed without tucking behind the draft of someone else will leave you spent, and unable to go the distance. There are times when you will need to take the lead in order for someone else to rest and refresh, but recognizing those needs in yourself is vitally important if you want to be in shape to go the distance and finish the ride.
Consider the value of another set of hands, or how fresh ideas will put a new spin on your project. Not only will you be refreshed from the vigor of your helper, but you will also find peace and joy in working together and building a closer relationship with those working closely.
Not only is it smart to work closely with others, but it is biblical! Abraham had Lot, Moses had Aaron, and David had Jonathan. There are numerous stories of people accomplishing God’s purposes together. If they had worked alone, who knows what the outcome would have been.
So take along a friend, invite someone new to help, or tuck behind another who is raring to go. Get the needed refresh, and you will be ready to take the lead again!
Soli Deo Gloria!