Someone asked me, in so many words, why bother doing these cycling races. This spring it is 103 miles to the top of Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, then it is the race up Mt. Washington in August.
Why not enjoy a good ride and avoid the strain of these events. In fact, I could probably put together a good defense that the “go out for a good ride” option is better for you.
I have no answer. But I suspect this, if you have to ask, any answer will not be satisfactory… or, for that matter, even understandable.
Some of this is pointed to by a comment made by Edmund Hillary, the mountain climber who went up Everest. He opined about mountain climbing, “It is not a mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” I do not know that I agree with him. I am not quite certain that we ever conquer the matters of the self. In fact, I really do not know what that means. But I get what he is pointing toward.
There is mystery in how we understand God, as there is mystery in life. Why do some things happen? Why the pain and suffering we see in life? Why do people do what they do? Why the rain and the snow? Why the earth? Why am I? There are no sure and clear answers.
Oh, sure, people grasp at this and some come up with pat solutions – a nice neat little package, quoting scripture or some source. The "solutions" sugarcoat what is, often, the unknowable, the mystery.
Some assert they “know” God. I always wonder about that. I mean there are times when I wonder how well I know myself and my wife. And I am much more familiar with us than with God. Also, I find communication to be a tad bit clearer.
I can read the Bible – so I can “know” the Bible. But the Bible is not God. For that matter, do you realize how many interpretations of the Bible there are? And – just to carry this out – does the Bible capture, with all its various motifs, ALL there is to know about God? If God is a living presence, then how does this record from 2,000 years ago capture God…. Did God “stop” then?
As life is filled with mystery, one comes to realize that God, for all that is revealed in the life and story of Jesus, for all that is revealed in the story of the people of Israel; God, too, is shrouded in mystery. Martin Luther referred to this concept as the God who is revealed and the God who is hidden. "Hidden" is simply another word for mystery.
Why bike mountains? Why climb Everest if we consider Edmund Hillary? Why does so much happen in life? So much is mystery. I have come to the point where I surrender to the mystery insteed of trying to comprehend.
But something draws us to God – something moves us to walk, run, swim, even bike. Something. Call it the mystery of this life. And sometimes, we, who so often yearn for explanations, come to accept the mysteries... and
We go, go when we can.