God has been very gracious to us here. He has given us an amazing, diverse community, great new friends, an affordable language school, and many gifts. More recently, He found us an alternative means of transportation- two bikes to get us from our apartment to the baby home and/or school. Since there are three of us, we are awaiting one more bicycle before we attempt to travel together on our new rides. If any of you have been to Beijing, you can understand our apprehension in putting multiple people on one bike and maneuvering through the city.
So, on one of our free mornings I decided to take advantage of our open schedule and go on my own to the baby home for some snuggle time. I also decided that I would attempt this trek on one of our brand new bikes! It was a beautiful day, the air was warm, the sun was out, and I began feeling super adventurous and super Chinese riding a bike through the city. Being a bit competitive, especially with myself, I took pleasure in lapping other bikers and sitting tall on my mountain bike as I did so. I began the first decade of the Rosary knowing that I was on top of the world. Nothing shocked me more than seeing the moped that had just passed me stop directly in front of me. Being right hand dominant, I chose the wrong brake and saw all of my 23 years of life flash before my eyes as my first tire jolted to a stop and the back tire came flying into the air overtop of me. It was the perfect ’10’ of all belly-flops onto pavement that became my bed of humility. Thank you, Lord.
I immediately jumped up, pretending to be fine and attempted to regain my bearings. Looking around, assessing the damage on my hands and body, I prayed to God that no one saw this YouTube worthy fall. Repeating the words, “Erin, you’re fine, you’re fine, no one saw.. You’re fine..” I choked back my tears, my urge to go home and drown in self-pity, and drove the rest of the way with my head on a swivel. I literally was repeating the name of Jesus as I pedaled and attempted to keep the bike and my nerves steady. About twenty minutes later, since I decided to pace myself with the elderly gentleman ahead of me (God bless him), I made it to the baby home. I just needed to feel the heartbeat of one of our preemies next to mine and I would be fine. “Ten more steps and you will be soothed,” I whispered to myself. Looking at my hands that were cut open from road rash, I asked for help from one of the nannies and received treatment. She kept apologizing for the discomfort she knew I had to have been feeling. But honestly, nothing was more wounded than my pride.
Instead of making it into the room with my rocker and my babies that bring me so much comfort and peace, I was asked to accompany a lady and preemie to the hospital and hold the oxygen during transport. My heart sank, but I smiled and after our four hour escapade, we returned back to the baby home in just enough time for me to bike home. Then, after a forty minute turtle-pace ride, I made it back to my home, where I then cried and told this same story to my roommate. Rest assured it was full of dramatics, big gulps of air between sobs, and I got the pity I felt I had deserved. About ten minutes later we were laughing hysterically picturing me flying through the air and onto the ground. I am laughing even now as I write this.
My point, other than allowing others to enjoy this hysterical mishap with me, is this: No matter how high we become because of God’s grace, our successes, or even from compliments received, we all must come down from the mountain into humility with our Lord. Ignatius teaches us that “one principal reason for which God permits us to experience spiritual desolation is to anchor us more deeply in evangelical humility”. For Ignatius, “a humble heart is the rich spiritual soil from which all other virtues spring; a heart that is humble is a heart completely open to embrace God’s call.” (SpirEx, 146, 167) This call is a call to holiness, and for a sharing in the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the start of holy week, may we pray to be humbled as we walk with Him into Jerusalem and on to His Passion.
My prayer with St. Margaret Mary:
Ah, my dear Mother, why are we not aflame with the divine fire He came to cast upon the earth? Yes, we must be consumed with it. I want to make a practice of loving Him and of being consumed in these holy flames. Let us love this Sacred Heart which will be the altar on which we offer our sacrifices.
I long to be consumed. Empty me, Lord, so that You may fill me. God bless you all during this holy week and every day after!