A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend of mine who is also in full time ministry. We were discussing things we do that help release some of the stress of being a pastor. He said he has learned over the years that everyone (even folks not in ministry) need an "outlet". Something they can do to get their minds of things and unwind. This may be a hobby, sport, or whatever. It was then that I realized that I didn't have one. And not only that, I couldn't remember the last time I ever had an outlet. So we started working through some possibilities of what I may like to try as my outlet. The scene was much like the one on "Seinfeld" where George and Jerry were discussing possible new jobs for George:
George: I like sports. I could do something in sports.
Jerry: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. In what capacity?
George: You know, like the general manager of a baseball team or something.
Jerry: Yeah. Well, that - that could be tough to get.
George: Well, it doesn't even have to be the general manager. Maybe I could be like, an announcer. Like a colour man. You know how I always make those interesting comments during the game.
Jerry: Yeah. Yeah. You make good comments.
George: What about that?
Jerry: Well, they tend to give those jobs to ex-ballplayers and people that are, you know, in broadcasting.
George: Well, that's really not fair.
Jerry: I know. Well, okay. Okay. What else do you like?
George: Movies. I like to watch movies.
Jerry: Yeah. Yeah.
George: Do they pay people to watch movies?
George: That's true.
Jerry: But you gotta know how to work the projector.
Jerry: And it's probably a union thing.
George: (scoffs) Those unions.
When it was all said and done, I decided there was one outlet that I had never tried but always had an interest in....mountain biking! Not the extreme mountain biking you see on ESPN or some outdoor show, but the kind would allow me to get away for a 7-10 mile ride through some trails around NC. So the search for my new bike began.
After doing some research online, I began checking out some bikes on Ebay. I found one that looked promising that was less then 10 miles from my home. I emailed the guy and he said if I won it, then I could just come pick it up. So I bid and I won. I went over to pick it up last night and while talking to the seller, I discovered what an amazing person this guy was. He had a garage full of bikes. He told me that that was his outlet. That he would come home from work and unwind by fixing up bikes. He would pick them up on ebay, yard sales, auctions, etc.. then fix them up and donate them to "Santa's workshop", a ministry that provides bikes to needy kids at Christmas. He said he had donated about 120 bikes so far this year. To help fund this project, he finds bikes like the one I was going to buy at a great deal, cleans it up, then resales it to make the money he would spend on the donated bikes. What an amazing ministry!! While I was taking my new bike for a test spin, I noticed he was bringing out a new one from his garage. He asked me to give that one a test ride too. It was much better then the bike I was going to purchase. He said he thought I would enjoy that new one more. He said if I wanted it, I could take that one instead. So I walked away with a "Haro Vector V1" mountain bike. He even threw in a helmet.
So now I'm ready. Ready for what I don't know. Ready for an outlet..yes. Ready to die trying my outlet..not yet. I plan on riding it around my neighborhood for a bit while I get use to it. Then I'm of to Salem Lake for a 7 miles trek around the lake.
My friend was right, everyone needs an outlet. I just hope mine doesn't kill me.