My friend and I have been sharing bike metaphors over the past little while and a few days ago he sent me a text that said “I think my tires are flat” I knew what he was talking about, I knew that exact feeling. My heart broke hearing it from someone else. I imagine we have all been in that place at one time or another. That place where you can’t get any traction, you can’t even begin to move, you can’t start to do anything, you are just stuck, with no idea how to begin to get going.
Flat tires on a bike need repair before it can be used for what it was made for. If you are like me, I guess I would try to figure out if the tire is shot or can be repaired. Then I would go and find a place to get a patch kit (assuming fixing is even possible). I guess then, after figuring out where the patch needs to be, I would apply said patch and re-inflate the tire and give it a go. I would always be expecting it to:
a. not work in the first place, or
b. Work for a bit, then fail, or
c. work long enough for me to be so far from home that it would totally suck to get back, then break again, or
d. have some other essential part on the bike break shortly thereafter
Perhaps this is a bad way to look at life, check that. This is a bad way to look at life. If his metaphorical tires are flat, he is stuck, he needs help, but if he is like me, he won’t ask, maybe won’t even accept help. It is sometimes harder in real life to figure out if the situation is repairable, or just broken and needs replacing altogether. It is also harder to find good help. I mean if we were talking about a bike, I would definitely not ask me for help. I am not good at that.
But we aren’t talking about a real bike, we are talking about life, and my friend’s tires are flat. He hasn’t asked for help, I long to help, but I truly don’t know how to, so I guess I am not good at that either. I can share the pain, a bit, well not really because I’m not in the same pain he is. I can be with him to let him talk about his pain, but guys don’t really like that too much.
My friend and I once watched an entire NFL game without saying more than 20 words to each other. It was a great afternoon, we both enjoyed it a lot. Talking about our tires isn’t something we are likely to do. If we did, I would want him to hear this. I too have been in that place. I have had flat tires, I have felt spent and lost, and broken, and as the man in my house, felt like I had let everyone down. I should be able to make this bike work, but I didn’t, I can’t and now it is broken. I know the pain of that. I know the frustration of that. I know the heartache of that.
Guys aren’t supposed to have flat tires, if we do, we are supposed to know how to fix them, we are supposed to have all the tools nearby to fix them. Guys are supposed to have solid rubber tires that never go flat or something. We don’t though, or at least me and my friend don’t. We are left going through this world with tires that go flat. This world hurts. Stuff sucks sometimes.
My tires aren’t flat right now, but I bet it won’t be long, cause I fixed them myself. I made do with the tools I had, I patched it myself and because I’m not really equipped for that, it will blow sooner or later. Life is just like that.
So your tires are flat? I hear you my friend. I am with you, you can borrow my tools anytime. I’ll even give what little help I can, because you know what? Life only makes sense when we live it together in community.
Got flat tires?