Today was our school’s annual Bike-a-Thon, the day that everybody walks/skates/bikes around for 6-7 hours or so. Fun, right? Not so much. For me, it’s the worst day of the school year. Performances I can handle. Test days? Easy. But the Bike-a-Thon – more like the Bike-a-TON, and I’m not a huge fan of the whole outdoorsy thing to begin with. It’s cold, I hate bugs, I get sunburned easily, and I haven’t ridden my bike in ages, so I knew it was going to hurt. No thanks. So when I woke up to a headache and my mom pounding on my door, I thought, “Oh boy. Here we go again.”
When we got to the fairgrounds where we were having the event, I was no more excited about the whole thing – in fact, I was less so because not only did I still have a headache, but it was freezing outside, I hadn’t gotten breakfast because my mom had rushed me out the door, and I was pretty sure I’d be by myself all day. The few friends that I have usually skip the Bike-a-Thon, or if they do come, they pair off and ride together and I never see them. True to form, they didn’t come because they were “sick.” (Because I know them, I don’t believe that for a second, but we’ll not get into that.)
I was pretty much resigned to walking alone the entire day, and I did for a while. I was entirely miserable. But then I stopped and thought for a moment. I thought about branching out a little. Maybe this was God’s way of telling me, “You need to step out of the comfort zone a little more. I know you like those people, but you should get to know other people too.” I didn’t want to get to know anyone else. I’m not super-outgoing, I’ve never been supersocial, I tend to stick to myself and my small group of friends. In short, I’m a very private person. “I’m perfectly fine where I am, thank you very much,” was my initial response. But after walking around a little longer hating that I had to be there and wishing it would rain so we could all go home, I was pretty much ready to do whatever He wanted. And so began the day of branching out.
Obviously, I didn’t transform into an instant “social butterfly” today. If only it were that easy. But I started trying, and God started sending people my way. I didn’t know any of them very well – of course I knew basic names and grades, since I have a small school – but the only one I knew beyond that was a junior girl that had reached out to me at the start of this year. But I got to talk to all of them today, mostly freshmen that I wouldn’t normally even try to interact with. And I had an awesome day. It was the best day of the school year so far. Yes, I got sunburned; yes, it definitely hurt to ride my bike again; yes, my regular friends weren’t there. But you know, at the end of the day, none of that really mattered. I had a great time, I got to know some really cool people, and I found out that one of the freshmen boys screams even more shrilly than I do.