ON LAZY SPRING AFTERNOONS IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, with the sun pouring in a window, blue sky overhead, and a warm breeze gently dancing with the trees, I remember staring out my classroom window wishing I was free from Mr. Parker’s math lesson. I would imagine all the wonderful things I could be doing instead of being stuck in class. The boredom of listening to my teacher drone on felt soul crushing. If only I could get outside. If only I was free to play. I would be happy.
THE FINAL BELL OF THE DAY WOULD RING. I would rush to the school bus for the 30 minute ride home. In no time, I would be free to do whatever I wanted. The rituals of the ride home played out with familiar stops. I watched all the kids, one by one, loosed into the wild. I imagined what it would be like when my turn finally came. Freedom!
FINALLY HOME and I would refuel with an afternoon snack. Then something unsettling would happen. I wouldn’t know what to do. Most days I would call my friend who lived next door. Together we could spark a great idea. But, 15 minutes later we would both be sitting on my couch wondering what to do. Boredom would re-emerge. This time it wasn’t the school’s fault. We were free. We had flexibility. We could choose. How was it possible to have the freedom I had wished for but still be just as bored? After experiencing this multiple times my friend and I learned to decide to go ride bikes.
WE LEARNED FREEDOM COMES IN TWO STEPS. Freedom of choice is only half the journey. The fullness of freedom is found in the choosing.
When we got stuck in our choice, when we got bored we would go ride bikes, and it worked. The act of choosing would fulfil the longing found in the promise of freedom. Then the rest of the afternoon would be full of adventure. It is often said the first step is the hardest one to take. If you believe this you’re probably trying to take too big a first step. You feel stuck in the choosing. GO RIDE BIKES. It’s simple. It’s easy and it’s how new adventure begins; with a choice.