This is the sixteenth in a series written by Malcolm Marler and Mary Bea Sullivan, husband and wife, about their journey as Mary, an author, prepares to go to Virginia Theological Seminary. Malcolm is a director of pastoral care at a hospital in Alabama.
“She Said.” By Mary Bea
Anyone who has ridden a bicycle uphill knows the climb is made easier by switching into a lower gear. Timing, especially on steep inclines, is critical. According to bicycletutor.com “It’s very important not to shift under pressure, as this will cause shift problems and damage your drivetrain.”
I think I have waited a bit too long to shift into a lower gear. I have seen this hill coming for a long time. Depending on how you look at it, some would say I have been anticipating the move to seminary for over a decade. Even if we only count back to March, the month when I decided where to attend school, I have had a good five months to prepare for the upcoming move and next Wednesday’s classes.
But I have been pedaling along as if I were riding through the flat farmlands of Ohio, risking damage to my “drivetrain.” I don’t see this tardy transition preparation as a lack of enthusiasm for that which awaits; but rather a testimony to the love for that which I will leave.
Cheeks have been kissed, hugs savored, and tears slipped away now and then. Borrowed books have been returned, new, already beloved ones beckon. Last Sunday the family and I were formally blessed by a congregation that has blessed us since we first wandered into Grace Church six years ago. And yet in my “knowing” I have not “known” to shift gears yet. This gentle flat land is so familiar and in some ways, easy.
Even though I am excited about this new adventure, perhaps my hesitation is due to a healthy dose of respect for the difficulty on the road ahead. Whatever the reason, it is time to shift into a lower gear, rely on training from former “rides” and pedal. I know from past hikes, runs, and rides, the biggest climbs are the most beautiful and gratifying at the summit. And so I will lift my eyes toward the hills…
I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip-
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you-the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm-He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
May the Lord watch over you and yours. I will continue to write as frequently as I am able in my new world. I am grateful to you, my readers who have encouraged, supported, and given me strength for the road and I will carry you in my heart. Namaste