Mad like hell? Not what you think


Psychologists tell us that it is a lot more emotional to part with possessions than to acquire them. that’s why we hoard. But this is not about hoarding but, well…emotions and awakening.

I woke up in the morning and as I descended the stairway I gazed through the tall stairway windows as I have done every morning for the past five days. This morning I did not see what I have seen first thing in the morning and what I expected to see. I rubbed my eyes and squinted, gazing across the street to the spot of my focus.

No, my eyes were not missing anything, nor was I not fully awake. But something was missing alright, what I expected to see and my dose of anticipated energy every morning for the past week. My heart was beginning to race, I could feel – and actually hear – my heightening heartbeat.

Dear Lord, let me not be mad, I prayed silently. What use will it do anyway, I thought. My mind was still trying to convince me that there was a mistake somewhere. I might have used a different spot last evening, and I was actually praying that God would make it so, because, after all I had used another spot during the day.

It was my treasured newly acquired bicycle I was not seeing, and the more I squinted my eyes in disbelief the more it was sinking in that it was stolen overnight.

Yes, I had owned it for only five days but it had become attached to me and I to it. It had given me a new perspective and even healed me – literally; but first things first.

For a little over six months now, it has been a blessing to begin every new week, in a very inspirational tone. Along with other volunteers, we begin every Monday morning at 5:30 making breakfast for our homeless neighbors at Capitol Hill United Methodist Church. We pray every morning that the joy of the experience will continue with us and our guests for the rest of the week. And it does.

We do have a lot of fun. The other day Jane, our chef, complimented me for my newly acquired expertise in making potatoes – she taught me, actually. “Now you have job security”, she said and we all laughed. Not long after, as I was opening the oven doors I accidentally burned my forearms. I showed her the red bruises. “That has happened to me sometimes”, she confessed. Then in a serious note she added, “Don’t let it happen again, you’ll be fired”.

Then this added and unexpected blessing happened. Rob, one of the volunteer coordinators, informed me that there were a couple of donated bicycles and I could have one of them if I wanted.

Cycling has been a game changer for me. I am diabetic which means exercise is a life saver. Cycling has given me tangible health benefits that make my doctor proud – and me certainly.

The offer was exciting. One of those bicycles was a 21 speed mountain bike, I was excited about it but unfortunately it was too big for me and presented challenges mounting, and especially dismounting. I also had become accustomed to knee braces because of osteoarthritis. I had even believed that I was crippled without braces.

The excitement of the bicycle prompted me to exercise stretching my knees and hips and discovered that I actually did not need the knee braces at all. What a relief it was to discover that I was not after all immobile without braces. I was able to stretch one leg over the seat to get on and off the big bike.

Just for reassurance of the fact that blessings often come in multiples, another smaller bicycle was donated and it was a perfect much for me. It too was a 21 speed but a light weight. I could go up hills and inclines I could not scale before. I started making plans to get around, savor the landscape far and beyond the city and take pictures.

I have to confess that when I first read the owner’s manual online – 44 pages that include 62 warnings and caution alerts – I was intimidated. Will I be able to operate this thing? I thought. How about all these warnings not to get on the road before thoroughly practicing on deserted stretches to get a feel for it?

Guess what! No practice in a park or on empty streets. Once I got on it, it felt like I had had it for all my life.  Smooth, comfortable and easy to operate. I was having the time of my life and looking forward to extended rides. I delighted in the thought of continuing to be doctors’ envy.

It is now five days since I picked it up my precious gift from the church, and somebody stole it overnight. I had it chained securely to the rack as I had done every night. Now I am still processing. Should I be mad? Mad for what? For the cheap chain, or my decision to keep the bicycle at the same spot every night? Or, may be with the thief?

There is more to come.

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