Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Story of the Stolen Bicycle

There are parts of Lifa’s story that would scare away your average superhero. His exposure to the underbelly of humanity began when he should have been swaddled in safety, beheld in joy. 

We all have different responses when we encounter brokenness. Lifa’s was to turn to a quiet place inside of himself, clutching self-preservation as a stand-in for peace.

Over the years, Lifa has begun to believe that he belongs. He has soaked in the truth that he is valuable, celebrated, and purposefully created.  

He’s practiced being a hero by trying on other people’s capes. They felt good.

We taught him about other superheroes’ powers, and then helped him identify his own.  That felt good too, so he made his own name, cape, and flag. He’s currently working on his theme song.

Max Man and his bike, the Cobra 200
Lifa’s bike has been a monumental part of his journey. He’s tested his autonomy, putting wind and distance between himself and his parents (as long as we were watching!) 

He mastered one skill after the other, from staying on to falling like a boss. He practiced a tailspin, riding without hands and going down steep hills on trails. We’ve even tied his sidekick pup, Kraven the Hunter, to his
handlebars and let them fly Batman and Robin style. (The Batmobile has nothin’ on the Cobra 200.)

Lifa puts on his cape for a ride on the Cobra 200 before we take on the seemingly insurmountable piles of homework after school. I walk the dogs, and he lets that cape flap in the wind, singing and basking in the bliss of childhood. It feels good.

It’s been especially fun since Chris’ parents came to visit! Lifa has accessed a new level of adventure and courage when we let him lead his doting grandparents by themselves on a tour of the neighborhood.
Grandparent HEAVEN
Yesterday, we were all going out together. Three generations and two puppies were ready to hit the sidewalks for our afterschool outing, and everything changed.

The Cobra 200 was not in it’s parking place.

Somebody stole Lifa’s bike.

We saw tire tracks up the wall. Someone has reached through our gate and maneuvered the bike up and over it. 

GoGo Sherry (Chris’ mom) pulled Lifa in to that special kind of hug a grandma was made to give. Lifa’s hero eyes filled with tears. Three generations stood by in shock next to tire tracks on the wall, disappointed together.

I handed Lifa the leash I was holding. Three generations, two puppies and one cape walked together. We laughed at how the dog behaved better for Lifa than me. We talked about feelings and how the real tragedy is for the person who couldn’t find a way to solve his problem without sin. Chris’ dad powers were on point when he cracked a joke about how disappointed the thief would be when he realized the bike’s chain pops off if you go too fast. Lifa cracked a giant smile, and then puffed out his chest a little bit as his grandparents promised to buy him a brand new bike.

I think Lifa found a new level of freedom on that walk – freedom to be both deeply disappointed and richly loved. Freedom to experience sorrow and hope at the same time. Freedom to be encircled by family when you need them, to stroll instead of soar for an afternoon.

Last night, tucked under his superhero blanket with his arms wrapped around Spiderman, Lifa asked Chris questions like, “Why do people steal?” “ Is our neighborhood always like this, or is it usually safe?” 

He played through old fears he’d encountered in other places he’d lived, sharing terrible stories we'd never heard. He asked Chris what he would have done if he had been there when those scary things happened. He wanted to know if things would have been different if a father would have been there. 

At the brink of being overcome, our strong boy had the courage to turn his head away from his fears and look to his father. Lifa knew he could count on his dad to let him borrow some of his bravery, to help him right the wrongs.

Lifa’s questions eventually turned to wondering if the thief could still go to heaven. We kissed him goodnight after redeeming conversations of forgiveness and salvation. He slept well last night.

On the day a thief came to try to steal, kill and destroy his symbol of freedom, Lifa took his biggest risk yet. He exposed a deeply-buried fear so it could be redeemed and rewritten. He let his protecting, comforting, load-bearing father into his story.

Lifa woke up to the same tire tracks on the wall, the same world he fell asleep to. His responded by pulling out the new Adventure Bible his grandparents brought him and turning to verses that help you when you feel worried. He talked himself down from worry, shame and fear all morning long, rehearsing every Bible verse he'd memorised and recalling our prayers last night.

He’s clinging to Truth and family because, no matter what kind of fear and bondage this day or lifetime tries to dish out, the Truth shall set you free. And you shall be free indeed.

There’s a Father to let into the story. He's eager to rewrite and redeem. 
There's a whole table full of His Family. We are better together.

1 comment:

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