“I’ve got some errands to do. Come with me.” Kirstin Black suggested before I even took my bike helmet off when I arrived at her home on a Saturday evening. “I’ve got to work later, but my housemate will be here. You and I can get to know each other now.” Kristin has a cyclone personality that makes you feel important and included from the start. I stowed my bike and off we went.
“I have to feed the horses I tend before my waitressing job.” Kristin explained as she drove up Icicle Canyon, and pointed out houses she cleaned. “When you choose to live in a place like this, you have to find a way to make a living.” Icicle Canyon on a misty afternoon could be the set of a Tolkien movie; trees and mountains so vertical they must be enhanced by magic. “Besides, Icicle Canyon is the key to my cycling. It all comes back every time I drive this road.”
Kristin didn’t own a bike until three months ago. “There’s this couple, very attractive, who ride their bicycles all over this area. They also do long tours. I saw them one day on Icicle Road and thought, ‘I can never do that.’ But since I found Jesus I’ve been reevaluating what I can do – I can do anything. So I got this idea to get a bike. I looked online and found a used Disc Trucker. When I called, the woman of that couple was selling her bike. Jesus planned it. She gave me a good deal, had it tuned up, everything.”
On July 1 Kristin rode seventy miles, a personal best. She was motivated by the date – the nineteenth anniversary of her son’s birth. He died at three months old. Like many bereaved parents, Kristin speaks of him as if he left only yesterday. And the years between then and now are a blur. “I was so selfish and my life sucked. You can’t buy joy.”
But faith can bring you joy, as Kristin will attest. Kristin wants to combine her faith in Jesus and her newfound love of cycling. She’s planning to ride and proselytize from Washington to Florida next spring. She’s raising money on gofundme,com.
We fed the horses and returned to Kristin’s place. Her housemate came home; her neighbor brought over dinner. After her shift, Kristin returned, as enthusiastic about Jesus and cycling as before. I have met other born again Christians who find Jesus in mid-life. For many, it’s a positive way to channel addictive personality traits. I hope that Kristin continues to cycle and makes that trip to Florida. And if Jesus is her motivator, that’s all good as well.
How will we live tomorrow?
“I think the world is in big trouble. Politically, this country is a mess. We’re in a black hole with droughts, wildfires, and sexual craziness. The world is in a dark place. A lot of people say they’re Christian, but they’re not. I would be afraid to have a child now. How would they grow up, with websites like Ashley Madison out there? Our society is so entitled. I am pretty bummed out about it.”