As I pedaled up I saw her sprawled out on the ground. She had lost her balance and fallen off her bicycle. Her knee was skinned very badly and her arm was cut. We asked her to let us call someone to come pick her up. She steadfastly refused. She had come to ride the 17 mile bike trail and she was less than a mile into it. After dabbing the blood away, she slowly climbed back on her bike and began to pedal. A few minutes later we were crossing an 8 foot wide wooden bridge when she again tumbled off, this time hitting her face against a wooden railing. I was almost sure she was dead. But though she was bleeding in several places and bruised in several more, her bones were still intact. This time we begged her to let us call someone to take her to the end of the trail. Nope. She was the one who had arranged this ride with her brothers and sisters and she was not about to let them finish it without her.
Carolyn is my big sister. She’s 79, and she hadn’t ridden a bike in over 50 years. You've heard it said that once you learn how to ride a bicycle you never forget? Well, that may be true, but you CAN get really bad at it.
Over the remainder of the trip she fell twice more, each time on her left knee. However, when we got to the end of the trail she was still atop her bicycle. And that is why my sister is my new hero. It would have been easy for her to give up. No one would have blamed her if she had allowed a car to come take her the rest of the way. We begged her to do just that. She was determined, though, to continue. For a lady of 79, whose sense of balance is greatly diminished, who decides to ride the entire 17 miles even after four spills, is determination and perseverance to the extreme. And that kind of true grit is admirable.
How many times have you seen someone talked out of a goal because they were told it couldn’t be done? How many people have you seen quit saving for one of their great goals of life because the going got tough?
People who choose the harder path will be rebuffed multiple times. So most of us choose the path of least resistance. In 1962, John Kennedy told students at Rice University, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” My sister stayed on top of her bicycle for the entire 17 mile ride. It was hard, but she did it. That's why I count my big sister as being My New Hero.
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