Carl loved his unicycle. It was a monument to his skill. He rode straight ahead and in circles. He rode backwards, forwards, uphill and down. He could ride it with one foot or ride it with two. There was practically nothing that he couldn't do on his unicycle.
The people were impressed at his skill. "It sure is unique," they'd say.
To which he would reply, "Guess I'm a one-of-a-kind kind of guy."
"You've been riding one since you were four," his sister would quip. "It's nothing new."
"Besides, I've seen the vicious side of it," his older brother Steve would reply, recalling the way in which his genius brother had first gotten the idea for a unicycle after he fell off his bicycle.
Carl had insisted that he could ride it without training wheels or a helmet. And so his parents let him. That was a mistake as Carl rebelliously mounted the bike and began to peddle down the driveway, ignoring their advice. Soon he had toppled over, scraping his knee, bruising his leg, and banging his 'not so funny' bone on the hard concrete.
His older sister Dana felt sorry for him and rushed to help him up.
"No! Leave me alone!" screamed Carl. He threw a big temper tantrum and later when no one was looking took a sledge hammer to the bike. He totally ruined it to where it was unfixable.
When his mother suggested that what he had done was a little extreme, Carl blew her off. "I'm never riding a bike again!" he yelled. "I'm getting a unicycle!"
He didn't see the tall figure standing behind him.
"Son, we're having a little talk."
Carl recognized the voice of his Dad. The man did not sound happy.
"Let's take a little walk behind the woodshed," he said.
A little bruise on his behind quickly woke the boy up to the seriousness of his deed.
"I hope you realize," said his father, "that you've ruined the only bike you'll ever get. We'll buy you a unicycle if that is your wish. But if you destroy that one, we are not getting you another one. You are stuck with it. If you want another two-wheeler, you will pay for it with your own money - when you grow up."
And so Carl got his unicycle. But every time Carl got mad at it, his father went for the switch. Carl quickly learned that if he wanted to live his life as a rugged individual, he would have to pay for it.
"But that's all right," he thought. "I have plenty of friends who think I'm great. And that's all that matters. Hurray for me!"
And so Carl the spin doctor continued to spin his own wheel as he rode around life's cul-de-sac. "Look at all the tricks that I can do! Yes, come look at me!" So the people would come and the people would stare. They'd throw a few coins his way. Dollar signs lit up his dull eyes. A new world opened to him, full of wondrous possibilities.
At the ripe age of seventeen, Carl joined a carnival team. A regular traveling circus it was. What a wonderful dream! He'd been juggling ever since he was just five and had perfected the art. Proud of it was he! "Pshaw, it's not that hard to do, especially if you're smart like me."
So he juggled and rode his unicycle, while all the people applauded. But the crowds went away and then no one was left to tell him, "Hey, you're really awesome!" It was great fun while the money rolled in. When it came his way he felt rich. But after a while Carl began to feel quite a different itch.
At one time he'd love a lot of different girls and was considered quite the charmer. But now he felt as if he had been spread a bit thin, sort of like an overworked farmer. So he settled down and he married a wife. He thought, this is just what I need! I've finally gotten off that vicious cycle: the world with all of its greed. I'm a Christian now and I can have it all. God promises that I'll be blessed. I needn't take care how I live my life. As God's child I deserve the best!
Now Carl's wife was quite pretty, a picture that Carl loved to show off 'round the town. What a nice image the two did display! What pride rested on Carl's crown! When the children came along, Carl knew he'd been blessed. As everyone 'round him plainly could see, the man had everything! And yet every day as he rode his own cycle, he knew there was something missing.
It must be more candy, it must be more fun! thought Carl. More work, more games for everyone. Give me more energy for my desperate climb up the corporate ladder to that tightrope in the sky. That's where I'll be, riding my cycle by and by. On that stage I'm sure to gain great renown if I really knuckle down. It's my destiny, it's my 'cross.' Pass me my comb and my dental floss!
And as the home fires began to wane, his wife complained "Why must you ride your cycle alone? I too can ride. Let me have a whirl. Two wheels work better than one."
But Carl merely shrugged and patted her head. "You silly young thing," he'd say. "You don't understand. I ride alone. That is how I work best. You have your job and I have mine. Don't you agree that it works out just fine? Surely I've been a great husband to you. You have everything that you want, don't you?"
"But I want to have input," said his wife. "Why should you ride alone? Why must you always run the show while I stay all day at home? In the theater of life you hog all the best parts, then when I ask questions you leave me in the dark. But a bicycle is built for two. A unicycle just won't do. How can you stop it when it goes downhill? How do you steer it when there's a dip in the road? And what if you need to make a quick getaway? Take me with you right now. What do you say?"
But Carl dismissed her remarks with a shrug. "Your ideas," he said, "will not do. Do you not realize, my cute little wife, that I'm a lot smarter than you?"
Now those were the years of abundant cash cows, fairly overflowing with 'moola.' And Carl, he put up with a lot of bull just to climb that corporate ladder, while his wife just got sadder and sadder. His earnings brought in plenty of money, all of which he quickly spent. Cotton candy, soft drinks, prizes from underneath the circus tent. A few for himself and a few for the 'fam.' How generous of me! thought Carl as he continued to chug away at his prosperity.
Yet it was hard to ride a unicycle and keep your armor on. A clink, a chink, a little stink, and soon it was all gone. The ladder crumbled, because, hey, credit cards are only plastic. And Carl began to get tired of hard work. He thought, this is not so fantastic! My fans never stick around for very long, and nothing that I really want lasts. Now that the difficult times have come, I'm not having such a blast.
And all the time that Carl rode upon his unicycle, the time that he spent with his spouse was wearing to a trickle. Until one day the bearded lady took him by surprise. What sort of monstrosity was that before his eyes? Oh, for a nice two-wheeler to get him out of there! Now she was suffocating him, and all he felt was despair! He'd spun his wheel and sowed the wind, headed for divorce. After a while he asked himself how did he get off course?
He didn't have quite far to look. The fault was his alone. And so he got on bended knee and came before God's throne.
"When did this start?" he asked the LORD in all sincerity. And God gave him an answer, speaking quite clearly:
"It was the day that you decided you should ride alone, apart from one who is your rib - bone of your very bone. For I did not design you two for separate unicycles. But rather I have fashioned you to function undivided. You shouldn't be in your own worlds apart from one another. But you should share a friendship as a sister and a brother. And that is why you fell, my son. That's why you're so forlorn - because your vicious cycle couldn't save you from the storm.
That's why I hate divorce so much, because divorce divides. For when you're do your own thing, it's violence in my eyes. It tears apart that bicycle designed to work as one. I do not want you doing that any more, my son. And though the situation it as rough as rough can be (because of what you've done, my son), there is still time to repent. Tell your wife you're sorry - today. In humility give her a turn on your cycle - today."
Carl knew the Lord was right. He needed to change, and soon. But he also knew it would take time to learn to ride a bicycle built for two. He'd been used to riding by himself for so long, he wasn't quite ready to start doing things differently. Thankfully he still had time.
"Okay, Lord," he said. "I'll do it. I'll tell her I'm sorry and give her a turn on my cycle - tomorrow."
And so he treated her that day just as he had the day before. The next morning he awoke to find her gone. And there was his unicycle sitting in the garage, broken in two pieces.
The Bible says that two are better than one because they have a better reward for their labor (Ecclesiastes 4:9). If one falls, the other can pick him up. But woe to the one who has no one! God never intended for man to be alone.
Yet how many husbands and wives live their separate lives, spinning their separate wheels while riding their own separate unicycles? God intended marriage to work like a bicycle, not two unicycles!
A lone man is a proud man. The way in which he becomes lonely is through his own contention ("I'm right!" attitude). According to Proverbs 13:11, contention comes only through pride. But with the well advised is wisdom.
The proud man seeks to hide his sin to protect his reputation, but the meek (humble) person surrounds himself with a multitude of counselors, because he knows that through a multitude of counselors his good plans will succeed. (Proverbs 11:14)
Therefore let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is (Hebrews 10:25), but let us exhort one another daily so that we may not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Hebrews 3:13), looking diligently lest any man fall from the grace of God (Hebrews 12:15), confessing our faults to one another and praying for one another, that we may be healed (James 5:16).
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