I have a kind of love affair with my bicycle. She’s a 1979 Schwinn Suburban that I bought last summer from a real connoisseur on the subject. He’d been buying and refurbishing vintage bikes since he and his wife were married almost thirty years ago. He’s American; she’s Dutch. Altogether, they have twelve full sets–the his and hers versions–of beautiful bicycles from varying eras. He was almost tearful as he helped me put Harley in the back of my little Subaru. It was more than giving up a bike. He was giving up countless years of memories when he let me take her.
Earlier this week, my dear friend Chichi and I took our bikes out along the Poudre River Trail. We rode the six or so miles out to Bellvue, stopping every mile or so to Instagram the views of the mountains, the way the river turned just so. We stopped at a coffee shop called the Bellvue Bean and drank mate lattes until far later than we meant to be there. We laughed about our “date” and joked about trading each other in for a more masculine model. But I wouldn’t have changed a thing.
RIght now, Colorado is in that glorious autumn phase that is often all too brief. The aspens glow with a precarious mix of gold and silver. The river runs quietly, taking a rest before being pummeled with winter runoff. Everything about this late September silently speaks to the changes ahead, the changes that will come more disarmingly than I have ever been able to grasp. It’s the perfect time to be here, especially with everything that’s happening in my own life.
I came here with a myriad of purposes. I wanted to clean out a storage unit, visit friends, apply to seminary. For the most part, those things have been taken care of (with the exception of seminary, which isn’t an option at this point).
But more than that, I wanted to see if coming back to this town would mean coming home. I wanted to see if coming back would be the same as getting back on my bicycle, as natural and easy as that. I wanted to know if I still fit here. I wanted to know if I was making a mistake in making the decision to leave Colorado altogether.
There is still such a part of me that is completely captivated by this town. By the reservoir and the Front Range and the distance to Denver. By the a.m. eateries and the culture of coffee shops and the tattoo parlor that pierced my nose last summer. By the boys on fixie bikes and girls with their braided hair. By the train tracks and the train the runs it, keeping the whole town on schedule.
But in my heart of hearts, that place that is lodged somewhere between spinal column and breath, I know that this isn’t my place anymore.
I’ve been torn between heartache and longing this week, for the life I gave up to go on the Race, for the friends I love but didn’t come back to, for the little blue bicycle that won’t be going on this next adventure with me. I’ve craved the stability that grad school here would have offered and the “normalcy” of a routine, of a life that is more in my control. I have wished for my own apartment with bookshelves to hold a library now given away. I have desired a man who is kind and God-loving and willing to build a life with me. I have wanted many, many things.
But more than anything, I have wanted to go where the Father is leading me. There is such an ache in me to be doing what I know in that same heart-of-hearts place is waiting for me at the next step. I am seeing the fulfillment of dreams I dreamed on the Race, of a life purposefully lived. I have been living in exile and am being brought home.
Because wherever He is, I am home.
I’d give up everything to always walk in the fullness of that knowledge.
Praise Him for the opportunity to do that.
[PS- Stay tuned for an update on what comes next in my life!]