It's a little easier to laugh about what happened yesterday morning today; and I as tell the story to people, I can smile and be thankful, but the bruises on my legs and hips and the soreness in my body certainly tells a different story.
Yesterday as I was riding my bike to school the front basket broke at the place where it is attached to the bike and fell under the front wheel sending my computer, my shoes, and myself over the front handlebars and flat on the pavement. I've done a similar stunt twice before, once when I was 8 and again around 10 years old. My 8 year old stunt lost me my front tooth. I recently spent $1,300 getting that fixed (again), and the second experience left stitches and a scar I can see to this day on the bottom of my chin. With each of these experiences, I remember exactly what it was like to be laying flat on the pavement, and feeling the sobs well up from my core, a response that is both scared and shaken from an mili-second airborn launch from a bike seat, to a very close and intimate view of pavement touching my face, my hands, and my entire front of my body. Well, yesterday morning I experiences the launch, the flight, and the landing; right on my hands and my head. This time, I have nothing broken, a few scratches, black and blue marks and a confused and startled heart.
As soon as I landed, I laid on the pavement with many bikes riding by. I didn't know if I could move at first, so I laid there a while, and began to feel the ache adn began to hear what was happening around me. What I heard were people riding by and laughing at me. As I was tangled up in my bike, I couldn't move right away, and laid there, confused as to why I could hear things like "oh look, a foreigner laying on the pavement" and then the voices just riding by. After a little while, someone lifted the bike up, gave it to me and peddled off. I couldn't explain why I began to sob so heavily, but found myself walking down the street, avoiding hundreds of bikers going by, sobbing and trying to hold my basket on my bike and my bag in the other hand. Finally I stopped behind a street food vendor and parked my bike, still sobbing. The sweet man asked what was wrong, saw my battered hands and legs and then ran to a nearby bike man with my bike to get a piece of wire. It was an interesting out-of-body experience: seeing myself so helpless, sobbing, and watching these men rig some kind of wire to hold my basket in place. A bunch of women gathered around me, all laughing and wondering why I was still in a puddle of tears. I was ok wasn't I? (and indeed I was). I was also very shaken. Being laughed at when I was sprawled out on the pavement, tangled and bleeding is not fun.
The interesting part to all of this. I was on my way to school early (like 6:20) because I needed to get some things prepared for class: namely, an article about being the beloved of God and some images: one being Rembrants's "Return of the Prodigal Son." I was thinking about what it was like for the prodigal to come home after such a long time and to be embraced by his father so intimately, bearing the scars of rugged life. The question running through my mind was "what would it be like to hear the father's heartbeat?" when "smack" I found myself embraced by the pavement: first thought "this is not it." But now, I am thinking: is it?
Right now I'm reading "Life of the Beloved" As I read it now, I realize that he states clearly that brokeness is as integral a part of being the beloved as blessing. Not to sound trite or oversimplify the myriad of thoughts running around in my head, but I do wonder if there was a specific purpose of laying absolutely helpless on the ground yesterday, and feeling so humiliated by the laughter of the crowd. I wonder what this has to say to one in seach of the life of the beloved.