On yer bike

On 7th January, 2016, following the terrible flooding throughout large parts of England and the North East of Scotland, I was cycling from our Manse to Bishopbriggs train station to attend some meetings in 121 George Street, Edinburgh. The rain was ‘stoating’ off the pavements in the morning darkness, but my waterproofs gave me some protection from the elements. As I crossed the path between Greenhill and Woodfield Avenue my cycle torch picked up ahead of me what looked like a dark puddle. The further I travelled into the puddle, the higher the water rose until it reached the central hub of my wheel, and at which point the cold water washed over my shoes as I frantically pedalled through the depths of what seemed like a deep pond! Despite my waterproofs my feet were soaking. Sitting on the train stripped of my outer layer of waterproofs I quickly began to enjoy the heat of the train, and began to reflect on how miserable I was feeling with wet feet!

But then I thought of those who had been displaced from their homes and lost prized possessions because of the recent severe flooding. My socks would dry, all would be well, and my discomfort was only temporary. Then my mobile phone rang, and it was a friend who is an ex soldier, who could not contain his laughter when I explained my plight – should I go to the toilet on the train, take off my socks, ring them out, and put them on the radiator in the train to dry them out en route to Edinburgh. Such practical ethical dilemmas. He left me with these words ringing in my ears, “Remember Ian, the old army saying, ‘Wear a pair, wash a pair, and keep a spare.’” I had thought with my waterproofs that I was prepared, but clearly I was not.

As I neared Haymarket station, it occurred to me that the way in which the water of the puddle washed over me, is not unlike the grace of God. Sometimes we expect it, and are prepared for it, but sometimes we are not. It floods over us whether we are ready or not, but it leaves its impression and mark upon us. As we approach the time when the clocks will go forward and we near British Summer Time, I hope that this time will be grace filled, but maybe without quite so much rain.