Flat tire is an answer to a prayer | Persons, places and things


By Barb Arland-Fye

Prayer is my companion on most bicycle rides and in the midst of my prayers on a Sunday afternoon in late July, I thanked God for the privilege of being able to ride. Along with this customary prayer of thanksgiving on a bike ride, I added a petition asking God to help me to feel more capable of taking care of my bicycle.


I have bent the valve stems on my tires while attempting to fill them with air and the air pump itself is a physical challenge to operate. Changing a tire fills me with a sense of dread at the hours it would take to master the skill. The mechanics of a bicycle may seem simple to some seasoned cyclists, but I am not mechanically minded. However, as a rider, I want to gain self-reliance.

The July afternoon was bearable because the humidity was low, making the ride enjoyable and fast. The prayers continued as a mingling of blessings, petitions, intercessions, thanksgiving and praise. A list of intercessions took up miles of the ride as I thought about all of the people dealing with illness or other challenges in their lives.


Just four miles from home, a wobbling sensation interrupted my prayers and filled me with dread. I got off my bike, felt the back tire, which had gone soft, confirming a flat tire. Why did I have to have another flat tire? It seems like this problem happens too often.

Then, Deacon Matt Levy came to mind. He is a mechanically inclined, seasoned cyclist who lives a mile away from the spot where the flat tire caught my attention. He could fix the tire. Not wanting to impose, however, I called my husband Steve and asked him to pick me up.

Even after Steve arrived, the thought to seek Matt’s help persisted. Steve and I drove to Matt’s house where his wife Lisa welcomed us and said Matt would be happy to change the tire. He is generous with his time and makes every request seem like an honor to fulfill.

Matt took us to the garage and quickly found the cause of the flat, a tiny piece of glass, removed the flat tube from the tire and replaced it with a new one. He showed us how to patch the hole in the deflated tube and said it would work like new. As we prepared to leave, he asked if we wanted him to replace the new tube with the patched tube. Yes, I said, but I wanted to try to change the tire myself. Matt walked me through the steps and provided encouragement. I even managed to fill the tire with air because he had one foot on the air pump! Steve, who “services” my bike daily, watched in amusement.

I rode the bike back home while Steve drove off to check out the new pickle ball courts in LeClaire. While taking a shower after the ride, I reflected on what had turned out to be a good bicycle ride after all. Then I remembered my prayer, asking for God’s assistance to help me feel more capable of taking care of my own bike.

A passage from Matthew’s Gospel comes to mind: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8).

God answered that prayer in a way I had not expected.

(Contact Editor Barb Arland-Fye at arland-fye@davenportdiocese.org)

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