Wednesday, October 28, 2009


As a parent, one of the many lessons you hope your children learn is how to discern situations in which the best answer is "no". And as a parent, you hope to model this concept for your children. Well, on the eve of my 52nd birthday, I am still learning. I'm still trying to grasp the concept of saying "no".

A few pieces of information that will be helpful. I regularly ride my bike on Wednesday afternoons. 1:30, Wednesday, we ride. Last Thursday I began getting a sinus/chest cold. Congestion, coughing, drainage. My riding partner has had the same cold and a slight injury so he is not riding today. I will be riding by myself today.

My cold was much better. The sun was beginning to shine. No reason not to ride. I thought.

Now riding by myself is not that unusual. I have done it many times. My plan is to ride about 40 miles on a route I have done dozens of times. No problem. I thought. By mile 3 I have that sick feeling of weakness and light headed. Not the first time this has happened. I assumed I would get over it. By mile 5 my stomach is so upset I can hardly ride. I have to stop and take care of this. (No, you are not interested in the details of that.) Although I have ridden 5 miles, I am only 2.5 miles from my house. Do I continue to ride? You know the answer. I knew to say no and go home. Weak, sick stomach, lingering illness. Go home. But no, my answer was yes and I take off. Not toward my house, but continuing on the planned route.

Misery. That's what happens when you say yes when no was the best answer. Not just when riding a bike but in most all situations. I cannot describe the misery that ensued until I finally made it home. Because I had chosen a hilly route (Belgreen loop) the ride is difficult on a good day. On a day when I felt weak and my lungs were still not 100%, I suffered through 40 miles of misery. Every hill was a chore, every mile felt like 10. But I thought I could overcome. Energy gels and gatorade will fix anything. Not. 2 hours and 36 minutes of like, counting every second. Every pedal stroke until I turned into my driveway shear misery.

I knew better than to ride today. When sick, you not only do you have to get well, you have to regain strength. I forgot part two. I was well but not strong enough for athletic endeavors.

For me it was an experience of epic proportions. I love to ride. I did not love today.

When we don't learn to say "no" we only create misery in our lives. This applies to every area of our life. Moral/ethical choices. Scheduling. Temptations. Discipline. Sin. Saying yes = misery.

The question is, did I learn my lesson? Will you learn yours?

Probably not. I will pass it off as just today's situation. Tomorrow will be better. Maybe. I'll learn to say no. And avoid misery. Let's hope so. Time will tell. Or tomorrow will tell.

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