He was dead set against putting training wheels on the bike.

“She can learn to ride it without them.” Though I agreed (she rides a 700 pound pony, after all, with no balance issues), I knew that teaching this life skill wasn’t in my patience parameters.

He taught her, yesterday, in under an hour. With the sun shining and a two-year-old at his heels, cheering along with him, he ran behind her, from one end of the driveway to the other. (It was quite a workout.)

It wasn’t long before she was flying along with only a small push from him.

It took me back to my own learning-to-ride-a-bike days, when my dad was running along behind me and then, suddenly, wasn’t. As I watched my five-year-old’s face transform and as I basked a bit in the interaction between the two of them — him cheering, her squealing — I couldn’t help but see it as a lesson for something larger.

What would happen if I approached my faith life with the same sort of enthusiasm my husband approached this Bike Teaching Adventure? What if I embraced the things I “have” to do with the same vigor and courage my five-year-old displayed yesterday? What if I kept going back, despite falls and setbacks, no matter how hard the falls were? What if I tuned out everyone else, except my cheering Father in the background?

I know God wants to be a part of my everyday life, of the smallest portions of the most mundane areas of my days. I know He waits eagerly, smiling and cheering, His face beaming and anticipating my success. I know He will pick me up and gently dust me off when I crash.

But, somehow, I don’t always act like I know this. So often, I cruise along, forgetting He’s running along behind me (or, so often, in front of me).

It helps me to have other prompts and inspirations, palpable pieces of life that bring me closer to God, and Mary is a just that for me. In her, I see something tangible, proof of God in a way that I don’t find anywhere else. (Don’t read that as me worshiping her; I certainly reserve worship for God alone. Devotion is much different.)

Loving Mary brings me closer to God, and when I find her beside me, it reminds me that Daddy’s there too.

One of my favorite titles of Mary is Our Lady of Combermere. You can read a brief history, follow great links to learn more, and catch some of my musings about her at Faith & Family Live.