OK, I will admit this in print. I was a wuss boy on Tuesday. Twice.
I left the office about 11:00 AM, where admittedly I work in a cubicle buried deep within the bowels of an office building so I have no idea of the weather outside, with full intentions of cycling over the noon hour, but by the time I got home I had chickened out.
I realize the wind was blowing 38 mph (according to The Weather Channel) with gusts of, what, about 50 mph, and there were tumbleweeds blowing down the roads to my neighborhood and West Texas dust filled the air, and so it would be acceptable for a reasonable person to decide not to ride. But I hate having to bow down to the weather. I had a goal to ride, and it was on my schedule to ride today, so why should I let the silly weather tell me what to do?
I don’t know why, but I did.
I salvaged my attitude by joining Cyndi, Daryl, and Amber for a bowl of Southwest Chicken Chili at Jason’s, but still. I was a wuss.
So in order to recover my esteem I decided to go for a run after work, before Taco Tuesday. The storm had not diminished, so I knew it would be a tough run, but I also knew the hot shower afterward would make it worth the abuse.
I dressed in my cold-wind gear. I keyed up my new iPod to chapter one of part three of The Honourable Schoolboy, by John le Carre. I checked the batteries in my headlamp since I knew it would get dark before I got back home. I left through the back, lowered the garage door, and moved west down the alley toward my favorite dirt roads. But I got no further. Once again, I turned into a wuss boy. The second time in one day.
I tried to run, but the wind was so bad I could hardly stand up, the tumbleweeds were still blowing down my route, and the flapping from my hood made it impossible to hear about George Smiley. I was miserable, and I realized that if I fought my way through four miles it would just make me mad. So I turned around and went back inside.
Bummer. Defeated by the weather, twice in one day.
I suppose if I had a stronger reason for fighting the wind, I would have finished my run. For example, if I had been carrying medicine to orphans trapped deep in the mesquite pasture, or if I had a message for the British Secret Intelligence Service that had to be delivered immediately, or if I thought Cyndi would be so proud she would throw herself at me as a reward for being brave, then I might have continued.
But I didn’t. I went back inside, put on warm clothes, and poked around on my computer while watching a video for Sunday morning.
I should take solace in the knowledge that maybe I’ve become wiser as I’ve gotten older. That’s usually a risky assumption, but could be true. I don’t have to fight every battle set before me, the wind won’t continue to blow every day, and it’s OK to rake a day off.
Sometimes the wiser thing to do is stand down and stop bucking the wind.
Just this week I read the story of Jacob wrestling with God (Genesis 32), which resulted in a permanent hip injury and corresponding limp, and I realized how Jacob would have been wiser to stop wrestling, surrender to God, and listen to the lesson God had for him. But he didn’t surrender, he fought on.
I don’t always have to fight on, whether against the wind (like on Tuesday), or against God (like Jacob).
I haven’t decided whether standing down as an act of will removes the wuss boy label, but that’s the story I am telling Cyndi. I still want her to be proud enough of me to throw herself in my direction.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32