Pedaling My Way Towards God
One of the hardest things to do as an adult is to manage my time. As a husband who works full-time and is raising two boys, ages fourteen and three, with my wife in NYC, things can get hectic. Cooking, cleaning, commuting are simple but monotonous tasks that must get done. There is a never-ending to-do list: homework, laundry, playing with the kids, paying bills, and not to mention, spending quality time with my wife. I am surprised at how we do it day after day, month after month, year after year. Amidst these daily activities, I struggle to find time to eat, sleep, rest, and most of all, pray.
I discovered that biking was a great way for me to lose some pounds, reflect and pedal my way towards God. Last year, my spiritual director, a Jesuit, suggested I try the Jesuits in Britain’s Pray As You Go app. I found myself listening to it every morning. The introductory music provides a calming sense of invitation for prayer. What’s more exciting is you never know what song or language you will hear next. Everyday is a surprise. The reflections are deep and offer many opportunities to get closer to God.
As praying with the app became part of my daily routine, I found that I wanted more prayer time so I started listening to it as I went out for long bike rides. The daily prayer is not long, usually 9–12 minutes. However, what stays with me throughout the ride is a word, a Bible verse, or simply a feeling. A significant aspect of Ignatian spirituality is to stay where you are finding God.
As I ride throughout New York City, I am able to encounter God on many occasions. The color of the sky and shapes that God presents seem to be created just for me. Allowing my senses to be touched, caressed, and embraced by God provides me with certainty: I am loved. Then, emotions consume me and tears begin to fill my eyes. St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, was noted as having the gift of tears. Is that a coincidence? No, it’s a gift from God. I ask myself: How can God, who created all of this wonder and beauty, offer it to me? Why does He continue to seek me out? How can He love me?
I found myself wanting to go on bike rides more often not for exercise but to pray and to be with God. To be with God out in the open allows me to move, to feel, to reflect and to put it all out there. It also allows me to learn how God speaks to me.
Sometimes I just pedal and pedal and pedal. In that constant motion I pass along the Hudson River, people, trees and the hustle and bustle of the city. That constant pedaling keeps me focused, centered on Him. I am moving towards something greater than me. I am pedaling towards something more. All I have to do is look up and I see more. All I have to do is want more and He gives more. All I have to do is pedal more and I am more, with Him.