graves and graces

bike in cemetery just after fixing

I was coming back from a long bike ride the other day when my gears got stuck. Jammed. Bad.

It was the hill that did it – the bike path crossed over a little stream then up a hill and across a cemetery. Shifting gears too quickly as I went up the hill, the chain got stuck in between a sprocket and the wheel. I stopped and leaned over and tried to wrench it free with a stick – but to no avail. Greasy hands are not my favorite, but I had to give it a go. Still, even yanking on the chain with all my might only made it wedge itself in more.

So I flipped the bike over. I was frustrated, very frustrated. I had planned my ride with just enough time to make it home, shower up, and then head over to some friends for lunch. But it didn’t look like that was going to happen. This was the worst bicycle problem I’d ever had!

tunnel on the way home

“God, how could you do this to me?!?!” flashed through my head. Of all days, of all places!

It was my own ridiculousness that made me laugh. “God didn’t break your bike, you did!” And it was true. I had shifted the gears, I had made the mistake. God had nothing to do with that.

And hey, what’s a broken bike?

I looked around me at the graves. 1899, 1903, 1834. “What would they think of this spectacle in their graveyard?” I wondered.

Then I set to work on the bike in earnest. Undoing the bolt on the rear wheel, pieces started falling everywhere onto the grass. The bolt itself saved the day. It doubled as a lever that worked to pry the chain links out, one by one.

After the bike was back together, I surveyed the scene again. Took a picture. Realized the whole thing had taken no more than ten minutes, that I wasn’t late, and that I had learned a great lesson in patience and humility.

In the face of eternity, a feisty bike chain isn’t really all that important, and definitely not something to get bent out of shape over. I’m sure the souls there in the cemetery – souls full of all kinds of life experience – had a good laugh at me.

Hope you are enjoying these quiet first weeks of August. I am!


About Fr Kevin McKenzie LC

Fr Kevin McKenzie LC comes from Saint Louis, Missouri from a family of nine. He spent the last five years studying Philosophy and Theology in Rome. Ordained a priest in December, he now helps as chaplain at a small Catholic school in Cincinnati, and on the weekends directs retreats for boys in southeastern Indiana.
This entry was posted in RC Live. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *