My knee was acting up the other day. Nevertheless, I wanted some exercise, and so I brought out my bicycle with the wide tires. It is called a “City Bike,” and it is built for comfort not speed. It has (I’m told) about 21 gears, but under normal conditions, I think I use three of them. There was a time when I enjoyed jogging, but the cartilage in my knees has told me those days are behind me.
I took to the park on my black and silver bicycle enjoying the warm breezes and the smell of the freshly cut grass in the field where the concerts are held. From out of nowhere, someone yelled, “On your left!” and a pack of 10 or more racing bikes whooshed around me. They were gone in a flash. The men and women were part of a racing team, and they wore multi-colored shirts and bike shorts. Their shoes were tightly clipped onto the pedals.
As for myself, I was in a loosely fit T-shirt; mesh shorts, tennis shoes, and a visor hat.
I owe it to you, to be honest. I started feeling just a tad old. I wasn’t jogging, an exercise that I used to enjoy. I was on a wide-tired bicycle, going at a comfortable pace, and the group on their racing bikes with the narrow tires and curled under handlebars passed me as though I was going backward. And they were warming up! I was waiting for someone speed walking to catch me.
Then, off in the distance, I saw a jogger coming at me from the opposite direction. Her sneakers did not make the usual “pad-pad” soft sound, but a metallic clank. As she drew closer, I saw the young woman had a prosthetic leg. Her face was resolute. She wasn’t looking for praise and certainly not for sympathy. She wasn’t waiting for my applause or some syrupy expression. She was running the same two-mile loop of the park that we all bike, run, jog or walk.
The lesson she taught me was profound. I had never seen her before. Perhaps she was visiting. I don’t know how she lost her leg below the knee. Was it an accident, congenital disability, or disease? It made no difference.
Suddenly, I thought about the word “acceptance.” She accepted what she was given in life. I guess that in a world of choices, she would not have chosen to have a prosthetic leg, but it was what she was given. She was neither embarrassed by the leg nor did she allow it to hold her back. She did not regret being slower than most joggers nor was she fixated on her “form.” She was running her race accepting her limitations as well as her triumph.
Blessed and Grateful
I immediately stopped feeling sorry for myself, with my bad knee and broad tire bicycle. Instead, I whispered a silent prayer at having seen this “angel” with the prosthetic limb. I wished her well on her life’s journey, and I knew that somehow (whoever she was) that she would be just fine. Love would surround her.
As for me, I prayed for acceptance. My knee does hurt, and I am older, but I was thankful for being able to live my life, to have my blessings and to go for a ride in the park. For I know so many who have no such joys.
Be happy with what you have and take pride in everything you do despite the obstacles that have been placed in front of you. We all have our races to run. Some of us are faster, some slower. Sometimes there is the pain, and sometimes there is exhilaration. When life gets complicated, grab your bike. You can’t be sad when riding a bicycle. Enjoy The Ride While You’re On It!