Notes from the Faith Journey

As an educator, and since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have probably spent a disproportionate amount of my time in an adrenaline-induced state of stress and anxiety. Wrestling with course structures, syllabus and schedule revisions, simultaneously working with in-person and remote learners, wondering how to sustainably engage students using Zoom. Zoom, the “Hollywood Squares of Franz Kafka,” a colleague of mine once remarked early in this pandemic era.

In the midst of this, I ask myself what am I grateful for? When I step out of the anxiety to pause and wonder in this manner, the short answer is always “everything.” So many blessings, too numerous to list them all. So I’ll pick two: bicycling and hymns.

I try to stay in shape . . . sort of. I have a 30-year old mountain bike I ride back and forth to work most days. Sometimes people are impressed that I commute on a bicycle. “How far do you ride?” they’ll ask. I used to say it was 5 miles. Then one day I actually measured it. As it turned out, I was liberally rounding up. It’s only 4.2 miles one way. Your math teacher would tell you that if you were going to do any rounding in this example, it would be down to 4, not up to 5.

The amazing thing though is that when I’m riding, sometimes a hymn will spontaneously begin playing in my head. Sometimes it will be from the previous Sunday’s worship service;sometimes seemingly randomly selected from my mental hymnal catalog. Most recently it was “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” It is a beautiful thing, pedaling and humming or singing along. And it’s okay that the ride is only 4.2 miles, because at the pace I’m pedaling I still get to hear the whole hymn.

Frank Healy