When we landed in Cambridge last August, Samuel had never ridden a bike without training wheels. It wasn’t a matter of ability, it was just opportunity. As far as I know there is no hereditary issue of bad balance in the family, still, this was going to be tough. We had no budget for a car and walking everywhere seriously shrinks your available travel radius. We needed to Sam to get up and rolling quickly, but pushing too hard would only lead to a crash (in more than one sense!).
So while Christiane scoured Gumtree and Freecycle to furnish the house we were waiting to move into, Sam and I were outside with his bike. We worked and wobbled our way to becoming a family of five that was sturdily set on no more than two wheels each.
It didn’t take him long. I will admit that I ‘inspired’ him to keep trying by taking to the older two kids out on bike adventures. I made sure that we went places that were so exciting and got treats that were so good, that Caleb and Sophie couldn’t help but gush about it when we got home. The plan succeeded. Sam was motivated and was up and rolling on his own before long.
The moment that sticks out to me was the first trip that Sam and I took on real Cambridge roads. Not the side streets for a gentle residential meander, but a solid commute. Cars, delivery vans, and even buses around us, traffic lights exercising authority over us, and pedestrians with unpredictable dogs on long leashes beside us. Of course I was more nervous than Sam. He had a blast.
We were almost up to our destination and I notified Sam. I was thinking that it would relax him from the strain and let him unwind as we arrived but instead of relief he was disappointed. “Aw man…it’s over already?” The poor kid was enjoying his new found mobility and couldn’t believe there wasn’t more road open ahead of him.
Our first four months in Cambridge involved a lot of effort and a lot of ‘wobbles’ too. We left behind the only place the kids had ever known. We are learning what it means for the five of us to be a family on our own terms. The roles have shifted as I move into being full-time outside the home and Christiane is called on to be the primary care-giver. The kids all started from scratch with friends and are in a school system that is significantly different from what they knew. But it does feel like we are rolling forward now. God has been very good to us and we do have some room to ‘coast’ without anyone (or everyone) falling over.
But the best thing is to know how much lies ahead now that we are rolling. With God, the roads never run too short. There is so much that still lies ahead for us. As a family we can grow in grace for each and in following Jesus together. My studies are just barely getting started and it is exciting to be at the beginning of such a large endeavor.
Who knows what God will do with our time here? How will He pull us in and enable us to serve the Global Church? Without any doubt, we know that by the Spirit God has given us, He will draw us toward Himself through the gospel of Jesus Christ His Son. We are grateful to be here in Cambridge and thank God for how He is using you to send and use our family.