My brother enjoys biking and sharing his love of the sport. Twenty-five years ago he gave my wife and me new mountain bikes. They pretty much sat in our garage for 20 years. We were runners throughout high school and college, so whatever leisure time we had was often put into hiking and running.
A little over five years ago on a warm summer day, my daughter, who was a sophomore in high school, and I ran up New Hampshire’s 3,000-foot Mt. Kearsarge. We started in the town of Warner, a few miles from the foot of the mountain, and when we reached the top, she said, “Dad, please go get the car so we don’t have to hike down!” We had planned to hike down the north side that my wife and our dog had hiked up, to meet us. So down I went, jogging the eight miles back to town to fetch the car.
Along the way I injured my knee. I made it, but couldn’t walk thereafter. A friend I was talking with that evening, who’d had some medical experience with this kind of injury, said I’d need a year to heal and recover—after surgery. I opted for mental surgery (see Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 402) and called a Christian Science practitioner to pray with me.
I prayed to “bow my knees”—to humbly devote myself to understanding more of God’s unlimited activity. I saw that God and His action are not injured, but perfect. The Bible points to God, to divine Spirit, rather than matter, as the source and strength of movement. Jesus said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63).
In a few days I was walking, but I couldn’t go very far. Feeling compelled not to accept such mortal limitation, I got out that 20-year-old bike that my brother had generously given me and started riding—for the joy of getting outdoors. And I continued to pray about the knee injury. I was fully healed in a few months without that recommended surgery.
Over the past few years my brother and I have done some fun bike rides together. Early last year he asked me to bike with him up Mt. Washington, which has a 6,200-foot elevation. I had run up Mt. Washington successfully a few times, but it’s really not a fully fun run. It’s 7.6 miles all uphill! I reluctantly agreed, and he signed us up for the bike ride scheduled in August.
Then a few weeks before the ride, I reinjured my knee. And I was struggling with other physical challenges, too. All signs were pointing to not going for this bike ride up Mt. Washington.
I prayed again, but this time my prayers were a bit different. It would have been easy just to say no thank you, but I wanted to know and do God’s will. At that time I had not had a vacation in a very long while, although I did, and still do, try to get outdoors every day. This was an opportunity to get away for a day with my family, so I worked to heal the mental and physical challenges that tried to keep me home.
Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power” (Science and Health, p. 192). A fellow practitioner helped me through Christian Science treatment, and I was free to ride on race day without limitation or pain.
The ride up Mt. Washington was tough, but exhilarating. We went off in waves of riders, my brother in the first wave with the pro-riders, and I in the last wave with the beginners and seniors (there were about 600 of us). As I made my way up the beautiful yet steep mountain road, I mentally sang and prayed with the last verse of a hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal:
I climb, with joy, the heights of Mind,
To soar o’er time and space;
I yet shall know as I am known
And see Thee face to face.
Till time and space and fear are naught
My quest shall never cease,
Thy presence ever goes with me
And Thou dost give me peace.
(Violet Hay, No. 136)
About two miles into the ride, I caught up to a fellow church member, and we rode much of the remainder together, encouraging each other on. This dear man surged at the end to break his age group record by about eight minutes! What a thrill it was to witness such ageless spiritual strength and endurance.
I accomplished my goal of finishing without having to get off the bike and walk. At the awards ceremony, my brother and I received a surprise—we had won the family team championship. My brother was elated. Although he had ridden up Mt. Washington many previous years, this was his first championship win. And I was grateful to have glorified God, omniactive Spirit.
My reinjured knee was soon completely healed again through prayer, and I’ve had no further trouble with it. Since then, I’ve run, hiked, and biked freely. One lesson learned from this experience is that of persistence and perseverance in the face of a tough task.
As Mrs. Eddy explains: “There is no excellence without labor; and the time to work, is now. Only by persistent, unremitting, straightforward toil; by turning neither to the right nor to the left, seeking no other pursuit or pleasure than that which cometh from God, can you win and wear the crown of the faithful” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 340).
Bow, New Hampshire, US