The definition of a bridezilla is “A woman whose behavior in planning her wedding is regarded as obsessive or intolerably demanding.” The whole concept is terrifying to me. To be obsessive or intolerably demanding? Shocking. (“Steve,” my inner voice says, “you are frequently obsessive and intolerably demanding.”...Long, deep sigh...)
The concept of grace is something that I need to constantly keep in front of myself. I need to be aware and practice grace more and more every day. I was talking with my friend Matt the other night, and I said, “The news makes me so angry lately. What do you think about ‘so and so’?” He said, “I don’t watch the news anymore.” I didn’t know what to say, so I changed the subject.
I charge myself up so much by the things I focus on and give my attention to. When I ride my bike and see someone violating the “ride right rules,”* I feel the need to shout out my opinion and correct them on their obvious mistakes. This doesn’t make me a good person, however; even though I think I am making the world better, I’m not – I’m a bridezilla for bikes. “Grace” should be my go-to.
I did RAGBRAI in July along with twenty thousand of my closest friends. What stands out in most of the comments from other riders who are not familiar with Iowa is how we are such a lovely state with wonderful, accommodating communities. “Iowa,” they say, “is soooo nice!!” And we are. I talked to a lot of the folks in the communities that hosted RAGBRAI – either as a stop along the route or as an overnight – and they were genuinely happy to have the 20,000 riders ride through their little town. They led with grace. They waved and served pie and provided Iowa hospitality in bucketloads. If a town was approached by RAGBRAI and they said “no” or weren’t excited – RAGBRAI would probably bypass the community and move the route around.
If a bride becomes a bridezilla and destroys the fun of the wedding with their attitude, that’s not good. If I scream at the non-helmet biker who is not following the trail rules of etiquette – they feel bad and I feel angry and remorseful. If a community says no to RAGBRAI – they miss a lot: money raised, marketing for their community, and an opportunity for their citizens to lead with grace.
My message today is that leading with grace and love and being flexible with how we approach all situations is better than starting off intolerably demanding and obsessive. Besides, who wants to be angry all the time? It’s exhausting.
*Stay on your side of the trail, pay attention, wear your helmet…etc.