Flat Tire Fatigue!

Recently, I set out on a "mail run" by way of bicycle! It was an overcast day with a slight breeze. I had tucked a plastic bag under my belt and was ready to retrieve the bulk of what is usually categorized as "junk mail." This was to be an easy mile up to the post office and another mile back to the house. Easy-peasy, I thought. After all, every morning I ride a recumbent bike as a part of my fitness workout! That workout ride has a resistance component to it to make it more challenging! I do enjoy an occasional traditional bike ride outdoors, however! This would be another occasion to let the wind part the little hair I have and push me on my way! 

"Resistance and Negligence!"

At first, I was breezing along without too much difficulty, but within a quarter of a mile, I felt my heart rate increasing and noticed a surprising onset of fatigue. My legs were tiring, my breathing was labored, and for a moment I thought of the obvious, even though I had none of the traditional symptoms. Maybe I was having a heart attack! 

However, I dismissed this quickly when I took stock of how low my front and rear tires were. I had left the garage in such a hurry that I had failed to inspect the tire pressure. The bike had been sitting there unused for several weeks and had lost considerable pressure in both tires. I was working against some pretty serious resistance with the rough pavement and my added weight straining against the nearly flat, under inflated tires! This mail run quickly turned into a hard slog!

I was rethinking the return home. It would be embarrassing to walk the bike, but that was my "Plan B." In an effort to save face, I did arrive at the post office huffing and puffing and nearly spent of my energy! Now, I faced the slow trip home. I planned to stick to an amended "Plan A" and would go as far as possible and then walk the bike the rest of the way. 

In the last half mile, I looked up to see the neighbor lady pulling her outsized dog, Bo, back from a walk. I blurted out while passing by, "Bo! You look as tired as I am!" I trudged on without explanation! A guy does have his pride!! 

I'm happy to report that I did ride all two miles and got to the edge of the property, but was too fatigued to get up the driveway even though it only has a slight incline. I  was so glad to finally get off the bike and I promised myself that I would never neglect to check that air pressure again! For the rest of the story, I was amused to research the origin of the term, "easy-peasy!" They say that the earliest documented instance of its use is from a 1940s film entitled, The Long Voyage Home! How ironic and funny! That certainly defined my experience of  "resistance and negligence!"

Have you been fatigued lately?  I'm not just thinking about getting enough rest at night. The recommended amount of sleep is somewhere around seven or eight hours. The dictionary offers a broader definition of fatigue as "an extreme tiredness that may be a result of mental or physical exertion, or even illness." I am suggesting other kinds of fatigue like Covid-19 or Pandemic-related fatigue, mitigation fatigue, social isolation fatigue,  and restrictions fatigue. There is also an election-year fatigue! These levels of fatigue can linger on after a good nights rest! They result in a more destructive fatigue... spiritual fatigue!

What is your self-help strategy to cope with these sources of fatigue? I have seen some video exercises on television for breathing that enable a person to get "present with oneself" through a quiet time of purposeful inhaling through our noses and exhaling from our mouths. It seems so simple, but it helps to center oneself during a stressful time. Just this week, a friend passed along a helpful prayer technique inspired by St. Julian of Norwich for "bodily praying."  This peace-inducing exercise involves using one's arms and hands as a way of "awaiting, allowing, accepting, and attending" (see link below). 

Jesus invites all of His children to "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light" (Matthew 11:28-30, NTL). When things go flat and you feel the onset of fatigue, be intentional about getting your rest by taking Christ's invitation! 

Mike Keppler, retired pastor, 
active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


Prayer exercise link... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lKdXykzTXk&feature=share&fbclid=IwAR1xmJUzhyQPntm0YgWjQKduSjL_F3ci3WFgIKvVk5Fd3KXSRUBRO8_X7aM )




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