Kim Griffin

“Back already?” the man directing returning cyclists inquired. “Well … we didn’t go the right way. Or do the whole thing. This is our first time,” we confessed.

“Ah, well, you have plenty of time left!” he encouraged us. “Go do the flat 20-mile ride!”

Then he added, “God has a plan!” to our surprise as we rode away. We joked that he should tell us what it is.

My cousin and I had signed up for a “covered bridges” bike ride in Bucks County. We didn’t put effort into planning or preparing for the ride, opting to wing it instead. We had signed up to do the 20-mile flat ride, but got to the event early so we decided to do the 33-mile hilly ride instead. No sweat, we figured, we can do it!

We raced off with enthusiasm, over-confident and underprepared. Other cyclists were ahead; we’d just follow them! We don’t need a map! You can probably guess where this is going.

We did follow the other cyclists for a while. But after a few hills and turns distance grew and before long we were on our own. But neither of us are drama queens. We’ll find our way, we thought.

After riding for some time, we crossed paths with another cyclist. He was lost and hoping we could help him. When he told us he had seen four bridges on his ride and we had only seen one … well, we knew we had wandered off course and he could probably help us better than we could help him.

We decided with our new friend to turn around and go back to the beginning.

Life so often pans out this way. We have great plans. We rush forth to execute them, underprepared for the journey. We get distracted. Too big for our britches. We follow others who aren’t on the same path as us. We’re led astray.

“God has a plan,” the man had said, with great confidence! Just get back out there, he had encouraged us. God will show us the way. He seemed certain.

And of course, we should be certain. St. Edith Stein once said, “Things were in God’s plan which I had not planned at all. I am coming to the living faith and conviction that – from God’s point of view – there is no chance and that the whole of my life, down to every detail, has been mapped out in God’s divine providence and makes complete and perfect sense in God’s all-seeing eyes.”

What an extraordinary perspective! And what a relief to know that God’s got the map. He can course correct the direction of our life. We can breathe a great big sigh of relief that the Almighty Lord is providential and caring and waiting to guide us if we just turn to him when we are lost.

After we took a much-needed break we did the 20-mile flat ride we had originally signed up for. All together, we rode more miles than we had planned. We didn’t see all the covered bridges we were supposed to but it was an adventure and it turned out to be an awesome ride.

We got a little lost. But we got back out there. And we were glad that we did.

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Kim Griffin is a member of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Philadelphia.