By Barb Arland-Fye
At the bottom of the hill on a tree-shaded trail, a bike lay flat on the ground with a water bottle beside it. The bike’s owner leaned against a pole on the grassy side of the trail. He must be tired, I thought, riding around the bike and heading for home.
I felt a nudge from God. “Shouldn’t you turn around and ask the cyclist if he is OK? He might be hurt,” God whispered. I was reluctant to stop riding. The rider is just fine, I told myself. God persisted, so I turned around.
The rider had moved across the path from the pole to a bench on the other side of the trail. “Are you OK?” I asked. The trees shaded the path so I did not have a good look at his face until I stopped. A thin line of blood ran down the side of his face, his chin was bleeding and his hands had cuts and scrapes. He showed me his pinky on one hand, which appeared out of joint. He seemed dazed.
“I have a Band-Aid in my pocket,” I said, reaching to the back of my jersey. “Would you like me to call for help?” He said he wanted to call a friend, but his hand shook as he pressed the numbers on his smartphone. “I can call my husband for help, he’s just about five miles away,” I said. The rider politely declined, stepped aside and called his friend.
After the call, he returned to his spot by the bench. This time, he accepted my offer of a Band-Aid, and was relieved to see that it was pad-size. He wanted my opinion about where to place the Band-Aid. I recommended his chin, which, of course, he could not see.
The unwrapped Band-Aid, which I take with me on every bike ride, had been in a plastic bag for months and had lost most of its adhesiveness. I placed the Band-Aid against his chin and tried to make it stick. He had to put his hand against it to hold the Band-Aid in place. I felt bad that I could not provide him with adequate aid.
“Would you like me to stay with you until your friend arrives?” I asked. No, the cyclist said, politely. Looking at him intently, I promised to pray for him. He did not respond, but I had a need to pray for him. I got back on my bicycle and while riding off, saw the blood spots on the pavement from his accident.
Prayers for the cyclist and questions preoccupied me. How did the accident happen? How badly was he hurt? What would the healing process be like? Knowing how much I love to ride, I hoped he would be able to get back on his bike soon.
Later that weekend my husband Steve walked into my home office to say he was dropping off a dish for a couple from church. God nudged me again, suggesting I stop my work and accompany Steve to visit our church friends. The work can wait.
Stopping for God, even in such small ways that weekend, helps deepen my awareness that the journey of faith is not about me. It is about us.