Wednesday, February 7, 2018

When we go through something hard we might get the feeling that we’re the only ones who have ever gone through it. In a sense, that is true. We are all individuals with our own emotions, personalities, and previous life experiences that all play into our lives who we are and how we react in various situations. It is annoying to have a well-meaning person launch into a narrative about how they knew someone in a similar situation to what we are in and how it turned out for them.
Recently I knew of a lady who was with a friend who was waiting for results of medical tests and, quite possibly, bad news. The friend of the sick lady said, “I’m not worried! I’m ready to die.” She then told the poor lady all of her plans; about the funeral arrangements, her burial plot, and headstone. Maybe it was well-meaning but her timing really stunk!
It is an odd thing, but now that I have survived a year beyond a cancer diagnosis I have a lot more empathy for people who have cancer. I understand how it is to try to navigate the mental and emotional landscape of the disease and focus on what the next step is. Cancer is sneaky and it is not Step One, Step Two, and Step Three; done!! It involves trying to understand the facts and pursue the best treatment options. Then there are the blood checks and scans, seeing if the illness is leaving, staying, or getting worse. It is looking over your shoulder while, at the same time, trying to look ahead and be optimistic.
I feel a connection to people who have, or who have had cancer. I have a deep respect for them and their courage. Without saying a word, I understand and feel comradery with them. I don’t care what brand of cancer they have. I feel connected.
                Soon we are going to be making the drive to Florida to spend some time with Christina’s brothers, sister-in-law, and another couple. We look forward to riding our bikes again. I am going to work out and exercise to prepare my muscles to the idea of actually doing something! Talking about bikes reminds me of something that happened a few years ago. I call my story…
First Ride
                We love adventures!  One of the best ways to be assured a good time is with our bikes.  So, since the forecast was 57º for the day after Easter, I loaded the bikes into the van before I went off to play golf with my guy from church with the hope we could get in a ride later (if I got back from playing golf in time).  I got home about 2, and just before we jumped in the car for the 45 minute ride to the bike path, I said that we ought to bring raincoats because showers were in the forecast.  Christina threw them in her gym bag, we got in, and off we went.
                Arriving at the East Bay Bike Path, the temperature was about 60º, the sky was blue, and we were so happy to be breaking out of a long New England winter for our first springtime ride.  Raincoats?  Nah!  We wouldn’t need them.  We headed down the path with a stiff breeze in our faces, looking forward to a cup of Starbucks coffee and the ride back with the wind at our backs.
                After a very satisfying cup, we pointed the bikes northward from Barrington toward the car.  But alas!  The sky was very dark in that direction and the wind had shifted so it was blowing right in our faces…again!  After a few minutes the rain started.  I told Christina to keep riding and I would go on ahead to get the car.  She was to wait for me at an agreed-on place. 
                I rode as fast as I could against the wind and the cold, biting raindrops.  I reached the car, trembling from exertion but happy to be where I could get warmed up.  The three mile drive to her was just enough time to get the car comfortably warmed.  As I loaded her bicycle she said she would still like to go get something to eat to celebrate finishing the Easter activities, as we had talked about before.
                We drove to Haines Park to change and look for what we could put on.  She had some sweatpants in the bottom of her bag (under the dry raincoats) and a shirt.  She also had a dry Red Sox tee shirt.  I donned the Sox shirt and the pants from a suit we were intending to drop off for cleaning.  As I took off my wet clothes I spied my Blue Tooth on the parking lot where it had fallen off my ear.  I picked it up and turned it off.
                Arriving at Federal Hill, we prepared to get out of the car to go find a restaurant in which to eat.  I decided to take my Blue Tooth along, but couldn’t find it.  After we ate and had a leisurely time relishing that first ride, we returned to the car.  We looked a bit more for the Blue Tooth before we headed home.  Arriving at home we looked for it in more earnest, and then decided to look again in the daylight.
                All searching came up empty.  Christina suggested that we ought to go back to the Haines Park parking lot and look, so after an evening Deaconate meeting we hit the road at 9:00 pm.  Arriving an hour later, we scoured the parking lot for about 20 minutes where we had changed the day before.  Nothing.  Cold and bummed, we headed home.
                As we got out of the car, we grabbed things that needed to go in the house; raincoats, a gym bag, a little garbage, etc.  Christina picked up a pair of biking gloves, and there inside was the AWOL Blue Tooth! 
                Thankfully we love each other and we put up with each other.  Also we are thankful that we consider something like going to look for a Blue Tooth late at night an adventure, too.  Did an angel slip it into the glove?  Maybe.  Did I just forget where I put it?  Maybe.  But we choose to give God the glory that we recovered it, and had fun during the hunt.

God bless you all.  Spring IS coming!


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