I have another biking story for you today but this one is not about a bike race. This is a story about loving kindness and my new friend Earl!
Last weekend I was riding my bike on a road that is pretty popular with the cyclists in town. As I was approaching a long, gradual climb on this road, I could see a REALLY tall man on a bicycle pedaling up the road. I noticed that a number of cyclists passed by him without so much as a glance.
As I rode up next to this man, I turned to say hello and what I got in return was the biggest smile I’ve ever seen!! His smile touched my heart in such a way that I knew I had to slow down and get to know this stranger on a bike.
His name is Earl and he is 65 years old. Wearing khaki shorts, a t-shirt and gym shoes, he did not look like your typical road cyclist. His bike looked like it had seen better days but none of this seemed to matter to Earl. He just looked so happy to be out there pedaling his way up the hill.
Earl lives in a small town outside of Tucson and every weekend he drives his truck into town, parks at the library and rides a 34 mile loop. From the looks of his bicycle, I have to say, I was impressed!
Earl and I rode together for a short time, chatting about cycling and the weather but as the road got steeper, Earl slowed down and then he motioned for me to go ahead. We waved goodbye and off I went, feeling beyond grateful that I took a moment to say hello to this stranger on a bike.
As I continued my ride, I could not help but wonder about the other cyclists who had passed by Earl without so much as a glance. Maybe it was because he was not wearing fancy bike clothes or riding an expensive bike. Or maybe it was the fact that Earl is a man of color. Whatever the reason, it was most likely a reflection of the kind of judgments that we so easily make.
All too often we form judgments based on a person’s actions or external appearances. With so much anger and hatred in the world right now, it would be easy to feel judgmental, but in doing so, we are missing out on a golden opportunity to witness the beautiful light shining within every one of us. What a shame it would be to waste such an opportunity.
When we are able to take a moment to acknowledge one another, to accept and respect one another, then we can change our perspective. Compassion for one another comes when we change our perspective.
Real change begins with each one of us and the time has come for all of us to join together and do what we can to spread love and kindness. A gesture, a kind word or simply saying hello CAN make a difference. Use your voice to let someone know that they matter. After all, isn’t that really what we all want? We just want to know that we matter.
So the next time you see someone that you might not be inclined to talk to, take a moment to say hello. If we all try to do this, we WILL make a difference! And if you are ever in doubt about what you should do, remember this:
BE BRAVE…..BE KIND…..BE AWESOME!
As for me, I’m already planning my ride for this weekend. I’m going back to that road in the hopes of seeing my new friend Earl again. If we don’t run into each other, that’s okay. I have no doubt there will be plenty of other opportunities to make a new friend!