From Tim: Today marks the beginning of a month-long experiment of mine. For the month of February, the daily gallen will showcase the amazing work of various creative individuals – everything from poetry to photography.
Today’s essay comes from Chris Morris. Chris is a CPA by day, a blogger before dawn, and a happily married father of four all the time. He writes about how faith and real life can collide in the brokenness of life, while still holding on to hope. Oh, and he is completely addicted to various forms of caffeine, most notably French press coffee and Diet Mountain Dew. You can read his blog at http://www.sometimeshope.
We bought Sean his first bicycle without training wheels for Christmas, and it was a big deal. He whooped and hollered and wanted to ride it in his pajamas before eating breakfast while I was still groggy. I should have said yes. Maybe the motorcycle wouldn’t have been there. I told him to wait and get a shower first.
A short time later, we are out on the street, a classic father-son moment. “Dad, I don’t think I can do this. What if I fall?”
“Son, I will be there for you,” I said thinking it would be true. If only I had known.
I ran alongside him, steadying his bike while he gained his balance. Slowly, I let go and continued to run next to him, keeping his victory to myself for a moment. Finally, I let him in on the secret.
“Sean, you’re doing it!”
A huge grin spread across his face and he sped up. I ran with him for a few minutes, then slowed to a stop. A moment later, another kid on a motorcycle came around the corner, just as wobbly on his dirt bike as Sean was on his bicycle. Sean swerved left to avoid the motorcycle – the kid tracked with him. Sean nudged to the right – no luck.
Time slowed down for me as I realized what was about to happen. Sean got run over by the motorcycle – not just hit, run over. To make it worse, he was dragged about ten feet on the road because the motorcyclist didn’t stop.
Shocked, I ran to my son to see if he was okay. Of course, he wasn’t – he was traumatized and terrified. Sean broke his arm in two places that day. Christmas Day. While riding his bike for the first time. While I watched on the side of the road. See – worst parent ever.
I was wracked with guilt about this event for months, but now I understand that sometimes things just happen. Successes turn sour in the flash of an eye, and it’s not anyone’s fault. The world is just broken. I should say at this point that I am a good parent most days, and I know that.
By the way, Sean happily rides bikes again, after a well-earned eighteen-month break. He is also not afraid of motorcycles. I had the privilege of walking him through his fears, and bringing him back to that place of freedom when I yelled to him,
“Sean, you’re doing it!” This time, the triumph was sweeter. And I looked for motorcycles.