Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bicycling Memories of Austin, Texas

A year or so ago, I pedaled around Sun City in Georgetown, Texas for my health. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have gone quite so far the day after donating two pints of blood. Also, if I had it to do over again, I would have eaten breakfast first or at least had some orange juice. I thought about all this while parked on the side of the road trying to decide if I should call 911 or just fall down and hope someone found me.
After some deep breaths, staying close to the flower garden at the woodworking shop in case I had to throw up, I managed to get past the nausea. I had already thought of a way to hold on to the branch of a tree for support if needed. But soon, I felt better and was back on the bike heading for home.

Perhaps I was delirious, but as I rode the rest of the way (mostly downhill, by the way), I had vivid memories of bike riding as a kid. I remember sneaking off when I lived near Clarksville in Austin, so I couldn't have been more than nine years old. My friend, Bobby Bayer, went with me. We told our parents we were just going to see someone a few blocks away and we ended up in deep South Austin. I felt terribly guilty for lying to my mother. But not guilty enough to keep me from repeating the trip several more times on other days.

Those memories and reminders of the guilt I felt, made me think about Brian, the male protagonist in Where Love Once Lived. Don't forget I said I may have been delirious at the time all this was going through my head.

In the novel, Brian had been brought up in a Christian family and attended church every Sunday. What's more, he loved to go to church and continued to go while he was away from his California home attending the University of Texas. Then, he committed a sin and, even though he knew better, the guilt is so strong he believes he is being punished by God. His punishment is to be in a loveless marriage.

He drops out of church for the next thirty years. This is all leading up to my wanting to tell you this is not a biographical story. It didn't happen to me. I was brought up in a Christian home and while there were some times in my life where I missed church because Sunday mornings were the only time I could rest, I never left the church completely the way Brian did in the story.

I am still friends with some of the people I met at church as a youth and we still get together frequently. I continued to be involved in church in college and while in the marines. After marriage and kids there were times when I wasn't involved as much as I should have been, but that didn't last long. I may tell you about that period of my life someday, if I'm ever delirious again.

How about you? When did God become a major part of your life? Have you ever dropped out? What brought you back?

No comments:

Post a Comment