Saturday, July 14, 2012

A friendship, or not?

I received a telephone call from and old friend and mentor early this morning. He was a little short with me because he hasn't heard from me in two weeks. "You know I worry." He said. "If I don't hear from you I don't know what to think and start wondering about the worst that could happen." It took me by surprise at first and I felt like addressing him as Mom. Then it dawned on me just what our relationship has become. I thanked him for his concern and told him I would try to do better in the future about calling him or writing letters more often. I just dropped a long letter in the mail box and he should receive it on Monday. I wrote about everything I could think of. That's what he needs right now. I am pleased to provide it.

John lives alone in a small apartment up north. Unfortunately, he has no friends left in his life. John has been a not so nice person to almost everyone he was close to over the years and through unguarded comments to them he has burned many bridges and they will not talk to him any more. He is now alone with the memories of what he's said and done except for the long distance correspondence and conversations we have. In short, he needs me. Over time I have done my best to help him apologize and make amends for the past through letters and attempted phone calls. As sad as it is, he actually had to learn how to do that. The family and friends from his past have chosen, and with good reason from what he's told me, not to reply. At least he's given it his best shot.

We met by chance 20 years ago and in his own way he advised me through a very stressful time, struck up a friendship and here we are today. In his words when he unselfishly gave me advice he experienced something he had never experienced before, consideration of someone else without expecting anything in return. That was a turning point in his life and he has worked on being a better person ever since. I can tell you from my own observation, he's had quite a job to do in that respect. But, he keeps working on it. Through his efforts I continue to learn and improve my own life.

The cornerstones of John's new life are A.A. meetings and his new found faith. For my part I guess I simply am some sort of human contact. Although he is working hard on becoming a better person he is still extremely abrasive in his talk and actions. If he didn't live way up north I'm not so sure it would be an acceptable situation as a friendship. It's workable by letter and phone calls though and also the fact that I didn't know him at his worst and don't have that insurmountable baggage to deal with.

Maybe it's a true friendship, maybe it's not but so far so good. We are both the better for it. At times he has some very interesting things to say.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Getting on with everything

If a person expects to get on with life on a regular basis they just better get used to jumping hurdles. That's been my experience anyway. I'm not saying I always enjoy those pesky hurdles, I'm just saying I have to expect them. Sure as I'm sitting here looking at the screen, in a short time something I hadn't planned on will happen.

Hurdle number one: Ever since Monday past my inbox has been filled with spam and advertising of huge proportions never before seen on my computer thereby slowing down my server to a snail's pace. I am grateful for my security system or I'd be off the air.

Hurdle number two: I jumped on my trusty bicycle, pushed down on the pedal to get it moving and busted the pedal bolt. Luckily I didn't injure myself except for a minor ankle scrape. My goodness, I could be talking in a much higher voice instead. By chance I had a spare pedal and bolt on hand.

Hurdle number three: A well meaning friend saw a loose wire hanging down from the front bumper of my car and attempted to stuff it back up into the light socket. Unfortunately, the wire was live and shorted out my lighting system. One wire at a time I am slowly replacing those that burned up.

Actually, I think you are getting the gist of things. You know what I mean. Life is not necessarily a bowl of cherries nor a bouquet of roses. Even so, cherries can spoil and roses die quickly. We have to be ready and able to tackle hurdles and keep moving along grabbing for all that is good. Which brings me to my continuing opportunity concerning the lack of time to ride that bicycle so I stay in shape to complete my expedition around Lake Michigan. Mornings see me at work early and evenings see me taking care of at home responsibilities late into the evening. Hence even riding back and forth to work has been sporadic at best. Walla! I keep the bike by the door of my shop and when I have a little time I ride back and forth up and down my street. I am beginning to know the sights well enough to recite them verbatim but at least I'm getting some wheel time. Just typing this it appears rather boring but in actuality it is quite exhilarating and somehow makes me feel as though I am a little kid getting away with something. Some people call it making lemonade if you are given lemons. Call it what you will but I am determined to get around that lake. Just bear with me and we'll share the ride.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bicycle addiction

Aaaaahhhh! I finally went for a 19 mile, morning ride on my bicycle. Unfortunately it wasn't part of my ride around Lake Michigan but a great experience never-the-less. What with personal, business and weather related hurdles I hadn't been able to ride for almost two full weeks. I was suffering from some type of cycling withdrawal syndrome. Wanderlust, day dreaming, loss of focus, a yearning for the road passing under me with the wind in my face, stuff like that. I could tolerate it no longer and grabbed the opportunity on Saturday morning past. Woke up way before dawn broke, watered the flowers and garden while partaking of the mandatory intake of strong, dark, heart jogging coffee, walked into the garage for a rake, looked at my trusty two wheeler and made the decision to throw my other activities to the wind and go for a ride. Oooohhh! How nice it was. Down the street, around a couple corners, over a hill and onto the Kent Trails bike path. It was barely light enough to see the pathway ahead of me and already there were joggers, runners, bikers and skaters moving along in staggered positions, most with ear buds and some type of radio or Ipod or whatever it is that people listen to now. Exhilarating, to say the least. Trees, bushes, birds, creeks, bridges, ponds and even a water treatment plant leading to and coming from John Ball Park, back to downtown Byron Center and finally my driveway and home. The time passed way too quickly and here it was over two full hours in the saddle and a full 19 miles on my new tires. My legs were a bit testy and I wobbled for a while as I walked off the adrenaline but otherwise I had gotten my exercise fix after such a long stay of inactivity. I am back to being myself once again.

It is amazing just how much I missed riding and how it affected my every day ability to cope with stress. Every new day is an opportunity and on Saturday I took advantage of it. I encourage you to give something a shot also that perhaps you may be missing. It put me in a wonderful mood to savor meeting new people at a dinner party later in the day. I wasn't caught up in dreaming or doing the wanderlust thing. A great day all around. I love that bicycle.
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