My family and I were in Jackson, Wyoming, for a midsummer vacation. One day, we went up to a resort to do some mountain biking. My brother and I quickly hopped the chairlift to the top of the mountain so we could drop in for our first run of the day.
After getting off at the top and deciding which trail to take, we were on our way down. I felt comfortable and fearless on the bike and was full of joy. The trail was fast, and we soon neared the bottom section, where it opened up into a series of jumps.
It’s smart to check out jumps at a slower speed before trying to clear them, but I was feeling confident enough that I hit them going very fast. I cleared the first two, but on the third, my back wheel came up too short on the landing, and within a split second, I had flown over the handlebars and landed hard on my side.
I flew over the handlebars and landed hard on my side.
I’d ended up at the bottom of the landing area, and my bike was in the bushes. I took my full-face helmet off and crawled to the side of the trail to rest. Nothing immediately hurt, so after a short break I tried to stand up—then winced. My left hip, which had taken most of the impact, was throbbing. I limped to my bike and rode slowly down the fire road the rest of the way. I couldn’t even stand up on the pedals, which is the most effective way to travel downhill.
As I rolled in to the bottom of the trail at the front of the lodge where my brother was waiting, I felt bombarded by fears and worries. What if something was out of place? Would I be able to go up for another run? Would the rest of this trip be ruined? And what about my service trip to Canada a week later?
I was raised by two parents who actively practice Christian Science, and I’ve also always relied on prayer for healing, no matter what I’ve faced. That’s why, in spite of these worries, it was my natural instinct to hop back on the chairlift and to use the ride to the top to pray about what had just happened.
On my way up, I took time to notice the beauty of my surroundings. Everything was so peaceful. This helped me feel close to God, and then I was able to begin praying about the fear I was feeling. I thought of a passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy that says, “There is no pain in Truth, and no truth in pain; …” (p. 113). Truth is God, and I knew that since there’s no pain or fear in God, there can’t be any pain or fear anywhere in God’s creation. God is everywhere, which leaves no room for anything bad. I realized I wasn’t trying to get rid of something negative like pain or fear, but was knowing more fully that God really is All. At the top of the chairlift, I got back on my bike and started for the same trail.
I realized I wasn’t trying to get rid of something negative like pain or fear, but was knowing more fully that God really is All.
As I was flying down the mountain, I kept affirming that I am spiritual. Because I am spiritual, I am safe. I knew that God’s protection of me is infinite and uninterrupted. Filling my thoughts with the truth about God left no place for anything else—including fear. This time, when I hit the section with the jumps, I cleared all of them with confidence.
That evening, after a full day on the mountain, I felt so grateful for the way I’d seen more clearly that God really had been with me at every moment. And the rest of the trip was great, too—and I was able to enjoy it without any pain or any sign of an injury.
This experience was a helpful lesson in how to pray effectively—on a trail in the mountains, or wherever I go.