In my senior year of college I bought a bicycle. It was a Huffy model purchased from a Walmart like store in Olean, New York. That year I rode back and forth from my house to school and all over some of those hilly back roads around the college.
After graduating my wife and I married and moved to Georgia where medical school was to start the following August. Fewer hills, much more warmth, but it was the same back and forth game plan. One day I walked out the door of our apartment, down the oldish cement steps planning to get on that green and black Huffy. Guess what? It was gone! We never found it though I did have a quick ride with a cop to chase a startled fellow on a similar one.
Plagued by strong opinions
See, I am plagued by strong opinions. My bicycle opinion was that Huffy’s are plenty good. “No one really needs more than a Huffy.” I must have only sort of believed this for one day I decided to just “go see how much a bike shop sold 18 speeds for.” The place I went was then called Breakaway but long since has been renamed Outspokin’ Bicycles (here’s their history).
There were a lot of bikes in that place and my! some were more than a thousand bucks. I probably allowed for bicycle enthusiasts to be more than Huffy aficionados (oxymoron? you decide). Anyway, I found one for $397. “Whew! That’s a lot of money, but maybe?” My Huffy probably cost about $88.
“Here, take it for a ride.”
The sales fellow turned it around and said, “Here. Take it for a ride.” I was pleasantly taken aback. I guess I figured he would worry I’d steal it. Probably he sized me up as the non-thief type. Nothing like being profiled, huh? Never mind my (old) car was in the parking lot and medical students aren’t generally going to waltz in and test drive a bike as their mode of theft.
So I walked across the twenty feet to the five or six stairs leading to the glass door and the parking lot beyond. Down those I went. Holding open the door with one hand and driving the bicycle out with the other my first experiences with this non-Huffy began. “Umm, you’re gonna have to let go of that Huffy prejudice.”“My it is not heavy like my Huffy,” probably went my thoughts. “Oh, and there is this little lever under the seat to adjust the height.” Done. “Oh, and the rims are not Huffy chrome, so the brakes will still work if wet.” I climbed aboard and do you know what? Epiphany! I had not even left that not so long parking lot before my mind rather pointedly said, “Umm, you’re gonna have to let go of that Huffy prejudice.” Nothing like a reality lesson. I bought that bike. It still works though the chain slips a bit and I don’t ride it much anymore.
Next up: The gas yard machine
Fast forward to my 40’s. My first two-stroke weed-eater was a unit I bought at Lowes: a Troy-Bilt. I needed it for work down by our boat dock. My first two-stroke blower was a Poulan Pro, also from Lowes. They really worked great…for 1-2 seasons, but then all kinds of grief began. Eventually I went down to Harry’s Saw Shop here in Augusta, Georgia and replaced these with Stihl made machines. Pleasure! They always start are powerful and satisfying to use.
Do I miss my Huffy? I don’t think that I ever have. What about those first 2 stroke machines I bought? Nope. I am an advocate for the non-Huffy, for the Stihl. The Huffy, the Troy-Bilt units it turned out were just shadows.
Ready for some Heaven talk?
Don’t worry this is no infomercial for smooth bikes and yard equipment. I just found those to be metaphoric. So let us move closer, not to, but closer to that lesson on Revelation 21.
Randy Alcorn has written a book called Heaven. Titling one of his sections: “Will we miss things from the old earth?” he draws a picture of being upgraded from Economy to First Class in an airplane. The shortcomings, he says, of Economy are taken away, but the good things are not. “You go from little legroom to lots of legroom, from an adequate chair to a comfortable one…Rather than just a sandwich you get a meal, on real plates.”
Yeah, this is what it is supposed to be!
Alcorn draws the reader to a chapter near the end of C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle entitled “Further up and further in.” Novels are useful when we need to imagine. The imagination is certainly needful when one tries to draw conclusions like we are studying in Revelation 21. In Lewis’ book Lucy and Peter are there along with some others like Lord Digory, Farsight the Eagle, and the Unicorn. Let me quote but one paragraph of Unicorn-speak from near the chapter’s end:
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.”
Jesus once told his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them. Maybe that was the mansion in heaven where Christians await the new earth. Maybe it was the new Jerusalem which will descend. I will let you imagine about that.
In Genesis 1 and 2 he prepared a place for us. In Revelation 21 he remakes our place, our earth-place. The cynical among us may belittle such hopes. A person of faith can, by faith, do so much better than that. Did Jesus know how to make our world with magnificence and excellence despite its being under the curse of sin? Even sin and the groans of the creation have not eliminated these things. With that in mind let your imagination run free in faith. When the curse is gone we will find ourselves saying, “Yeah, this is what it’s supposed to be.” We will all know this in our own way, but when our own way is fitted to God’s way what more could you imagine for? Have that faith, my friend. I’m trying.