Tiyong (Uncle) Ambo


My Tiyong Ambo (may he rest in peace) was the one who taught me how to ride a bicycle when I was still young. His very first lesson was to not focus on your hands that hold the bike handles but to look at the road ahead and just pedal.

It took me some time to follow this instruction. I tended to look at the bike and tried to make the wheels go straight but often they just turned either way and the bike could not move and it fell to one side. I either fell or was forced to get off it.

My Tiyong Ambo was very patient with me. He kept repeating: "Look at the road and hit the pedals!" When I did, I found out that my hands instinctively steered the handles and the bike moved forward. At first though, I went a few meters and Tiyong Ambo held the back of the bike seat while it was in motion, ready to catch me if I fell.

The discovery of the way to ride the bike ended with me enjoying it, and later he would get his own bike and we would ride together to go as far as the next barrio and back. I could see him enjoying this immensely as much as I enjoyed my newly learned riding skill. This made me and Tiyong Ambo closer than before. (He never had a son to teach how to ride a bike.)

Looking back to my bike training sessions with Tiyong Ambo, I realized he was giving me lessons about life, though most probably he was unaware of it.

The main lesson is that in life we are not to focus only on the here and the now. There is also the not here and the not here yet. They are as important as the now, if not more important. The present and the future are tied together. One is incomplete without the other. One can be explained by and give meaning to the other.

The falls and the pitfalls of life are not desirable by themselves, and the fact that we have them whether we like it or not makes no sense unless there is a future to look forward to. That future is what Christ promised when He came to overcome the evils of this world and to bring us where there is only happiness and peace. And that makes us able to ride the bike of life with confidence, hope and joy!#

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other." Isaiah 45:22

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