Riding With Friends

30 Jul

Wonderful ideas come at the most unexpected times, don’t they?

For instance.

I decided this morning to go cycling, something I haven’t done for a couple of months. After I gathered all the gear, pumped up the tires, tossed the bike in the back of my pickup and drove to the bike path, the Arizona sun was already reminding me that late July is not the very best time to ride. But…I was there and so I did. Cycling often provides a time and space for me to really relax and let my mind wander, and, thus, this morning my mind clicked into “meditate” gear and off it went. Before long I was thinking of two close friends, men that I’ve known for a long time and who now, both of them, would probably give anything they possessed to ride along the river with me. But they can’t. Because of serious medical issues, both men have seen their lives turned upside down. It is enough to say that neither can be as active and free as he used to be. So, I took them on a ride with me this morning…at least in my imagination.

We rode along the river remembering the fun we have had together over the years, the travels together, the meals shared, the laughter at corny jokes. And I could hear their voices as clearly as ever. I know the sound of each one’s laugh. I know their facial expressions and their unique mannerisms. I know each one, and each was there with me, even though neither could do the peddling anymore. And then I thought…

I’m going to invite them along every time I ride, and I’m going to suggest to my friends that they issue a similar invitation to their friends, too. So here it is: when you wash dishes, or sew on a button, or go hiking, or take in a movie, or climb a ladder, or fix a leaky faucet…when you do anything and everything, invite someone you know to come along with you…even though she or he may not be physically able; especially if they aren’t physically able. Invite them and let them be there in your mind. Let them stand or sit or pedal beside you and allow your mind to interact with them. There are stories to share and memories to uncover and laughs to be had still.

It was a wonderful ride this morning. We enjoyed it. Maybe somehow they know that something special happened in the morning hours of today. Even if they don’t, though, I was blessed by their presence. They gave me a gift and didn’t even know it. Perhaps, though, they did. Perhaps they felt the soft breeze and heard the hum on the tires on the pavement and giggled at another corny joke.

2 Responses to “Riding With Friends”

  1. Eric Carr August 1, 2013 at 4:33 am #

    I often do this with my friends and family who have passed away. Just yesterday I was listening to a pastoral care module for Community of Hope when I heard a familiar voice on the CD. It was a dear friend who had completed suicide two and a half years ago, and here she was talking about the ministry that she had found even in her pain. At first it brought back grief, but then it occurred to me that it was kind of like taking a class with her now. That was a much nicer frame for the experience.

    • rpiercetuc August 1, 2013 at 4:38 am #

      It amazes me how voices, images, sounds, smells…so many avenues…bring someone special into our lives, or back into our lives. Life swirls around us in mysterious ways we don’t grasp.

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