By Alexandra Tupy, 2022 missionary (rider on Mississippi Route)
With the missionary season of Biking for Babies officially concluded for this year, the time formally presented itself as a fitting space to share closing thoughts as a cyclist for the mission.
Admittedly, I struggled with the invitation to share my experience because I never felt clarity on a topic. There is a great deal of reflection to process with such an experience as a missionary cyclist. Surely, I could have forced myself to pick something to reflect upon, but nothing was connecting with me clearly enough, until now.
Shortly after arriving back from the National Ride, I took my younger brother to see an underground cave in Southern Minnesota. There was a tour guide who walked our group down into the cave, and at the very end of the tour, the guide asked the group, “Has anyone here ever experienced total darkness?” Most of us in the group had not. Moments after the group agreed to try it, the guide shut off the lights in the cave. The experience was fascinating. The guide was absolutely right, it was total darkness. You could not see a single glimpse of light anywhere.
After a while of contemplating total darkness, I felt compelled to write about my experience with Biking for Babies and how something as bright and beautiful as the mission can relate to a dark cave.
For the few short moments that were spent in the pitch black of the cave, I encountered something in the unseen—my soul. All humans have a soul, and anyone who has ever been with themselves alone knows what I am talking about. It is your personal spirit that stays with you everywhere you go. It is the part of you that you spend time with when you get up in the morning, when you brush your teeth, when you drive your car or when you think in a quiet moment.
When I boiled down to the core reason why I felt the call to strap myself on a bike for over 1,200 miles of training and cycling time, I concluded that it was not because of my own soul. The organization is not called biking for Alexandra—it is called Biking for Babies. More specifically, as someone who believes that the soul and body are fused, I think of the mission on a deeper level as biking for souls.
I recently lost my grandmother to an aggressive sarcoma cancer that ended up taking her life. I remember kneeling at her bedside, holding her hand in her last moments before she passed. When her pulse stopped, I knew that her body had died. Yet, I was left in awe of her soul. I believe that it went somewhere and most every grieving person that I encounter over the death of their loved one carries a similar hope.
They hold a dream of the day when they will encounter them again. I know that I do. But the part that I do not understand is how the grief of losing someone that we have seen is any different than the grief of losing someone in the unseen, namely, in the womb. Because no matter what operation, drug, or method that is chosen to abolish the physical body forming in the womb, no one, no doctor, no procedure, no power can ever kill the soul. The soul is infinite and no finite measure can overcome something infinite.
Where exactly souls go is something that we will find out for ourselves one day, but in the meantime, I want to challenge any person reading this to do one simple thing-close their eyes.
Because when you close your eyes and turn into yourself, you will be in darkness and you will feel your soul. This is the pinnacle reason that I chose to ride. I rode on a mission dedicated to the souls of the past and present that are rejected, unwanted, considered burdens and to the future souls whose chance at being brought into the world is waged every day.
Yet, I believe that these souls, whose lives have been cut short, are waiting to meet the souls of their mothers and fathers and the connected lineages of unbroken successions within their families one day. For anyone who has encountered a couple that has lost an unborn child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or other complications, the anticipation of being reunited one day with their child is unwavering. I think many people fail to give thought to such encounters when the conception of life is viewed merely as an obstacle in the moment rather than a gift ever unfolding.
We live with our eyes open each day. We can see the results of a pregnancy test, we can see the cost of supplies to raise a child, we can see the struggle of a mother without support, but we must remember that these are only physical things that we see. We fail to close our eyes and give greater thought to what is not seen and what is to come beyond this life. Despite living with our eyes open, many of us are blinded by pride to the point that we cannot see life bonded in its fullness of body and soul.
The route that my team and I cycled together was no easy feat. Our team persevered through many gripping challenges and, at times, moments of darkness with unforeseen trials and sacrifices. But, the darkness gave light to a beautiful message. The message being that when you are in a place of uncertainty, volatility, hardship, or confusion, where no one else can reach you, it can seem dark and it is hard to suffer. But, when the light reappears, you emerge with a newfound strength and a greater appreciation for the light that sustains you.
In the caves of our lives, may we never forget that God is always with us, and that He sees us more clearly than we see ourselves, and that He will never abandon us in our moments of seemingly total darkness.
My name is Alexandra Tupy. I am pro-life, pro-soul, and I want to thank my Grandma Gina for being a champion for life and teaching me that every soul is precious beyond measure with the ability to shine bright in our world.