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HeavenAll Things Through Christ
By S. Megan Payne

CRASH! Thud.

The bike skidded across the pavement and my butt hit the asphalt. Pain shot through my right leg; I could feel the hot tears trying to well up. Mocking laughter floated through the air toward me.


"Címon, loser! Go on and cry, you little loser!" Sam taunted me.

I wonít cry. I wonít cry, I told myself. Not with big Danny Taylor from next door and his loud-mouthed bully buddy Sam Taud staring at me over their shiny silver bikes and laughing at me. Theyíd never let me live it down.

I stood up slowly, wobbling a little before getting my balance back. My knee stung. I brushed some dirt out of the scratches.

"Tyler, give it up!" Sally Anne shouted from the sidewalk curb. She was my sister and only six.

"NO!"

She pouted back at me and grabbed her knees close to her chest. I wondered which part bugged her, their teasing or my failing.

Slowly, I took stock. I turned around slowly, watching, looking. First, I saw the face of my sister begging me to give up, then Danny and Sam holding their sides and laughing at me, the impudent nine-year-old attempting hopelessly to ride a bike. Then I caught sight of my momís friend, our neighbor Garnet Trusca, peering out of her window and looking on with pity. Then the mailman shaking his head at me and probably still muttering his same olí line, "Kidís got gumption."

No one believed I could do it. Not even my parents sitting on the porch and restraining themselves from running out there, giving Danny and Sam a big spanking each, and dragging me inside.

I started walking, a little faltering, but not bad. I paused to yank up my fallen mount with its drooping handle bars and hyper, spinning wheels. Little poufs of dust flew up into my throat and choked like those big, hard pills Mom made me swallow if I was sick. I coughed a little and reached down to stop the spinning. Then I set the bike down on the ground, ready to fly.

Everything I was taking in sort of melded suddenly, like Dadís smoothies when the bright colors of a dozen different fruits blend into a whir of monotony. Then I focused. I could smell the hot asphalt, feel every grain of dust beneath my fingers as I gripped the rubber handles, see the road leading out of the cul-de-sac, and I knew that today was the day. I could do it. I would do it.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me! The words repeated over and over in my head.

Like David standing in front of Goliath, I stood in front of every kid who had ever made fun of me, every person who had ever said, "It canít be done", every doctor who had ever shook his head at my Ďfantasies,í every family member who had ever over-sheltered me, ever person who had ever pitied me; in front of Danny Taylor and Samuel Taud. I stood and said again to my heart, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me!

Letting loose my war cry of victory, I ran and launched, pulling up swiftly to pedal and flying down the road. I was on the wind. I was doing it! I was riding a bike!

Breathless, I swerved around the corner and imagined the gaping faces of my tormentors, the shocked pleasure of my parents. It didnít matter, any of their jibes or any of their overwhelming concern.

One leg or not Ė I did it!
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