Pastor Meredith Harber takes a ride on her bike. (Photo courtesy Meredith Harber)

Pastor Meredith Harber takes a ride on her bike. (Photo courtesy Meredith Harber)

Minister’s Message: Slow down!

When you ride your bike, you’re able to observe more around you than when you drive

I’ve been riding my bike a lot more this summer than I have in the past.

It’s easier to hop on my bike and hit the K-beach trail for several miles or meander through Tsalteshi if I want more trees than people, rather than load up and drive to Skilak Road or somewhere else for a hike. With how unpredictable our weather has been, especially with the rain at the beginning of the summer, it’s been easier to ride my bike spontaneously rather than plan for a lot of hikes.

When you ride your bike, you’re able to observe more around you than when you drive, simply because you’re going at a slower speed. I’m able to study the cracks in the pavement or the smell of fresh rain. I can feel every rock under my tires and see people’s facial expressions as they pass me on the trails. There’s something about being able to use all of me to experience the world around me.

Last week, I noticed a sign that read “Slow down!” I don’t remember where it was or why it needed to be posted at that particular spot, but it made me think about the need to slow down, to allow my body to experience every bit of what’s going on around me.

It’s a reminder to take in the things that we can see, smell, taste, hear and feel, while also helping our bodies to be present in what we’re doing.

I like to keep my phone silent so that when I’m in a conversation with someone — I’m not distracted by it ringing or making noises. I try to allow myself the moment while waiting for my coffee to brew in the morning to just stretch out the sleep from the night before. I like to drive home in silence some days, just to allow my brain to come down from the day’s labors at the office.

Across our faith traditions and the secular act of humanism, there is beauty in rest, in sabbath, in being present in our bodies and minds. We can all benefit from finding some moments in our days to “slow down,” even if it means we’re still driving (or riding) to our next destination.

I hope whatever this time of summer (and not YET fall) brings for you, dear reader, that you can find some moments to slow down, to rest, to be present, and to absorb the beauty that is all around us.

Peace.

Pastor Meredith Harber ministers at Christ Lutheran Church, 128 N. Soldotna Ave. Soldotna. Worship is at 10 a.m. on Sundays.

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