“The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done”

challenges ahead signWhen I was in grade school, my younger brothers always had less homework than I did. I would look back on the previous year’s homework load and think to myself, “Wow, last year was so easy compared to this year. Why didn’t I appreciate it more then?” Every time I turn a new page in my life, I encounter the next challenge and I again wonder, “How will I ever get through this?” With a few rare exceptions, like the semester I did my student teaching and the Lent that I decided to take cold showers and forego listening to music in the car, any new challenge that I take on predictably becomes “the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Training for the Biking for Babies ride has certainly fit that general rule. Last week, I was out on the road with a bicycle club and two guys decided to break off from the rest of the group and get in some extra miles. Considering that I am training to ride 140 miles per day, I thought that sounded like a good idea, so I naively asked if I could join them. It was only my fourth time on a road bike, but I was feeling pretty good. My longest ride of the year had been 40 miles earlier that week. They were planning to go 50 or 60. Bring it on. Needless to say, keeping up with them was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Although I probably averaged the fastest speed that I have ever sustained on a bike in my entire life, I fell behind after about 20 miles (maybe less). When the real cyclists let me catch up with them, one said, “Now that’s what you call riding to failure. You’ll never know how much you can do until you’ve given so much that you can’t give any more.” If anyone would have told me before the ride that I would go that far and that fast, I would not have believed them. Now let’s switch gears and consider a mother who finds herself unexpectedly with child. Carrying her baby to term and then raising the child herself or placing the child for adoption is likely “the hardest thing she’s ever done.” The prevailing culture tells women that abortion is the easy way out. They don’t have to make any sacrifices, they don’t have to get help, they don’t have to be strong — abortion will solve all their problems. Keeping the child may well be “the hardest thing she’s ever done,” but a woman inhibits and withholds her full capacity to love if she gives up her child through abortion. So get out there and meet the next challenge in your life! Ride to failure. Go out and do “the hardest thing you’ve ever done.” And then flip the page and do it again. Just as a mother facing an unexpected pregnancy will find the ability to love her child in a seemingly desperate situation, you will find that you can do more than you ever imagined. [Cross-posted at Biking for Babies]

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