Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)
TITLE: Life After Training Wheels
By Dan Blankenship
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“Well, hello there, darlin’. I’m happy to see you too.” She bent down, returned the hug and planted a kiss on the little boy’s cheek.
“I’m gonna’ be six tomorrow, Grandma!”
“Yes, I heard about that. You sure are getting big fast.”
“Ya, and I’m riding my bike with no training wheels. Can you do that, Grandma?” Tyler asked, grabbing Sarah’s hand as the two walked toward the house.
“Well, ya know, I’m not sure,” Grandma Sarah replied, deciding to redirect their path.
“Where we going, Grandma?”
“To the shed, sweetheart.”
“Why we goin’ there?”
“That’s where my bicycle is, and you did ask me an important question.”
Sarah opened the latch on the shed and pulled the wooden door open, revealing 70 years of memorabilia, much of it covered with layers of dust and cobwebs. Tyler helped Sarah move all the antiques surrounding the dark blue, 1947 Columbia. The bicycle had hardly any rust, but both tires we flat.
“I’m sure I have a tire pump somewhere in here,” Sarah said, cupping her chin with her hand.
“Here it is, Grandma! Here it is!” Tyler yelled, reaching over some boxes and retrieving the rusted tire pump. He handed it to Grandma Sarah and then jumped up and down with excitement.
Sarah removed both nozzle caps and hooked up the tire pump to the front tire first. To her amazement the air seemed to hold inside the inner tube. Tyler watched as Sarah switched the pump to the back tire, and he asked if he could work the pump. That tire seemed to stay inflated as well. Sarah shook her head in disbelief. Tyler shook his head in anticipation.
“You’re doing it, Grandma! You’re riding without training wheels!” Tyler shouted as Sarah cycled down the driveway and then sidewalk. Sarah felt the wind rushing into her face and could tell it was blowing her hair into a mess. Her grandson tried to keep up with her, running alongside through the neighborhood yards. Sarah smiled and laughed as she remembered how much she loved riding her bike when she was a child.
After a few minutes, Sarah felt lightheaded and tired. She stopped pedaling and coasted to a stop on her driveway.
“That was great, Grandma! I bet you’re the only Grandma in the world that can ride a bike that good!” Tyler shouted, loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear.
“Oh, I bet there are other grannies out there that can still ride like me. Ya know, the chain really needs some oil.”
Tyler followed his grandmother to the shed helped her find the oil can. While Sarah was lubricating the chain, he noticed the small black license plate on the back had weird white letters and numbers that looked different than car license plates.
“What does Mt 19:26 mean, Grandma?”
“Oh, that’s a quote from the Bible, baby. It says that with God all things are possible.”
Obviously a bit confused, Tyler asked, “All things are possible?”
Sarah searched for the right words, and as was most often the case, God provided an answer for her. “Well, you know how you felt when you first rode your bike with no training wheels?”
“Yep, it was cool!”
“Well when we follow God, we feel like that every day. When we rely on God, we don’t need training wheels. He’s holding us up.”
“Oh, got ya. Can I ask another question, Grandma?”
“Of course, Tyler.”
“Why does mom call you a retired empty nester?”
“Your mom calls me that?”
“Um, yep…you’re not mad, are you?”
“No, honey, I’m not mad. It just means I no longer have to go to work everyday and that I have no children living with me.”
“But aren’t you sad that no one lives with you, Grandma?” Tyler asked.
“Not at all, honey. I spend my time wisely and look forward to your visits. And you know what else?”
“No, Grandma, what else?” Tyler asked as they made their way to the house.
“I get to spend so much time with you because I’m a retired-empty-nester. And today you and I learned a lesson together.”
“What lesson, Grandma?”
“We’re never too old or young to take off our training wheels and see just how much God will let us do.”
Back in the shed, the antique bicycle sat idle with two completely flat tires.
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