I’m sharing my blog space with Ryan Iagifliola today. Ryan is the Fuller Center’s Director of International Field Operations, but he’s also the founder of the Bicycle Adventure– something that’s just too much fun to get away from. He’s traveling with some of the riders on the way to Seattle for the beginning of this year’s ride. Just outside of Burley, Idaho, the van blew a tire and rolled. All eight passengers came through without serious injury, but it was a hard way to start the ride. This is Ryan’s accounting- – –
A high speed accident, passengers hospitalized, dramatic photos. It’s the kind of thing that seems to define the nightly news. Yesterday, it was our story, and the news stories, pictures, and our blog do a thorough job of filling in the frightening details.
But as one of those in the van who was given a front row seat (literally – the driver’s seat, to my great dismay), I’d like to tell what I see as the real story.
I saw all 8 people successfully out of the van. I saw the paramedic who "just happened to be driving by" stop to help us within minutes. I saw a woman who had swerved to avoid hitting us so genuinely excited to see our safety that she never once mentioned concern for her own.
I saw our rider Alyssa Hostetler forgetting her fear of blood as she focused on wiping up my leaking leg. I saw a busy business owner drop everything to drive us around and help anyway he could. I saw injured teammates in the hospital bonding and laughing a riot together as they spent time nursing their injuries.
And it didn’t just start at the accident – how could we forget the delicious, warm breakfast that morning in the home of Tom and Lois Weber with their fun-loving friends in their 55+ community? Or the visually stunning drive through Wyoming and Utah that left me full of praise for the God who allowed us to witness such beauty?
As the movie Braveheart put it, "All men die; not all men truly live." On this day, I had the privilege of sharing life with some of those who truly live. On this day when death seemed so close, I felt more assurance than ever that true death never came near, because we are offered an eternal life that begins in the here and now.
So it was no surprise when the riders told me they want to continue. Even Tom, with his shoulder in a sling, can’t help but talk of joining us in just a few weeks. They want to continue to serve those in need, to provide opportunities for simple, decent housing to the poor through the Fuller Center’s ministry, and to incarnate the love of God as they put their faith into action. These are people who want to truly live.
So the story of our accident? I suppose there’s a lot of ways it could be told. But that’s mine, and I’m sticking to it.