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Should I Stay or Should I Go?
One of my past-times that increases between hunting seasons is cycling. I’ve been enjoying this activity for nearly a decade. Most of my rides are short enough that I don’t have to think too much about water, an energy snack, or any extra equipment. They are also predictable since I ride them often. Others are longer and require some extra thought. These also are not as predictable since I only ride them a few times a year. There are always two main thoughts that cross my mind when I decide to take rides like these. First, I wonder how many dogs I’m going to have to fend off. And secondly, I’m out there alone, so I need to make sure I’m as safe as possible. Being in another county on a bicycle alone can have its own issues, but the dogs are always my first concern. They can come from anywhere and sometimes will show up before I ever see them coming. I take deterrent for them, but it can be tricky trying to use it while steering. Just this morning, I had to manage the bike, the dog spray, and the whereabouts of four dogs. I hate those situations. Should I stay home? Some would say yes. Some of my friends have thrown the white flag for rides that might have dogs. I refuse. The reward, to me, is just so much greater than the risk. On my morning trip, I witnessed some of the most beautiful scenery, inhaled some of the most pristine air, reveled in the solitude, and had moments of pure worship. It was so memorable I’ll share it with you. It was so memorable I think about how I could have chosen to stay home where it’s safe, comfortable, and predictable. I’m glad I didn’t linger on the negatives.
God gave Solomon wisdom that was greater than any man ever had. We get to witness some of his wisdom as we read his works. One of them is in the Bible and it’s called Ecclesiastes. In chapter eleven Solomon writes this. “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.” And then he gives this advice. “Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another – or maybe both.” I noticed this scripture as a young adult. I never forgot it. I mentally retrieved it this morning before I left for my trip. It always serves me well because I never want to be the person who lets all the negative “what ifs” keep me from enjoying something and sometimes even risking something. I know of no one who looks back at the end of his life and savors the memories of how he kept himself safe and secure.
■ Gary has three books that are compilations of the articles he has written for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.