My bike started giving me brake problems.... again. Brakes and gears have been giving me issues since last year. This time the brake pads were worn way down, but when I put new ones on, they didn't seem to be grabbing right. Hmmm, never replaced brake pads myself before, maybe I didn't do it right. I figured I could take it in to the shop, get them adjusted, and go riding from there.
It didn't happen that way. The reason my new brakes weren't working was that my wheel rims were so worn that the new pads weren't making contact properly. (I had put them on just fine.) What I needed was new wheels. The ones I needed were going to cost more than I could afford. Oh, and by the way, it looked like I was going to need a new front chainring set pretty soon, too, which was going to cost about the same as the new wheels.. In the meantime, to keep it running, they could sell me a cheaper set of wheels but my current ones, they said, weren't even safe. Ready to shred like one of those meat cans you open with a key, and you don't want that to happen while you're on the way down a hill at 35mph.
I could tell the inexpensive wheels didn't roll well. I didn't want them.... they would make everything harder. So, all bummed out, I took my bike and her bad wheels and worn-out chainrings home to talk to my husband about what to do. SavageMan is a month away.
Well, my 90-yr-old mother heard me talking about it and asked what was up. She asked to make sure she had it right, that I needed new wheels to make my bike rideable, and was going to need to spend the same amount soon on another part. She questioned the logic of replacing one expensive part after another on a bike that had 10,000-12,000 miles on it and kept breaking down. And she asked, if I were to get a new bike, what it would cost to get the bike I need.
Long story short, I've had a brand-new bike for a week now. Trek Madone 5.2 WSD (Women's Specialized Design) and it's gorgeous. Riding it is like riding butter.
My mother wanted to do this for me. She's not rolling in dough but she does have a little extra. I talked about how we could use that money for improvements to her home. I felt awkward: I'm an adult, and my mother was offering to buy me a bike. But I could see she was going to be very disappointed and sad if I didn't let her do this for me. So I've got this beautiful new bike that flies over the roads and breezes up hills (well, I do still have to grind hard up the worst ones but they're easier than they were before) and I don't have to be afraid that some part or other is going to give out on me mid-ride, mid-hill, mid-race.
And I'm trying to get my head around this gift that I could not have gotten for myself, haven't earned, don't feel I deserve. She says with all I do for her that's not even a question. I'm always feeling I should be doing more.
And it occurred to me.... it's like salvation. It's a gift. I did not earn it, did not have to earn it, because it's not earned, it's a gift. It's there; I need only to receive it. There's nothing I can do to pay for it, because the giver paid for it, it's already paid for, it's mine. Salvation; a new bike. Amazing, the lessons the Lord teaches us.