Spiritual experiences that awaken and motivate us happen every day, not just within the confines of a religious affiliation. This morning the words of a 40 something yr. old Special Olympian resonate in my mind “I DID IT! I LOVE CYCLING!, I rode 10 miles in a little over an hour!! I did good! I am so happy!!”..He glowed. Such incredible joy and thankfulness flowed from his being. Many other cyclists that completed a century or 50 mile ride were critiquing their times. Some athletes had driven many hours to “support the Special Olympic Athletes”, yet we know that everyone also competes because they are competing with themselves. Everyone has a story.. Behind every triathlete, every runner, cyclist, swimmer.. there is a motivation that has been sparked to make them “do”. On Sunday I cycled 70 miles. Fifty miles were for the Torch Ride for Special Olympics, and the other twenty were to get there, and get home 🙂
During the ride, I spoke with another fellow cyclist who I enjoyed drafting behind for about fifteen miles.. When we were having a water “fill up” he looked at me and said “Last year on this very day I was in the hospital battling cancer, this is my first ride over forty miles in over a year”. We high-fived and cycled on….Life is such a sweet gift to embrace.
As I sit in the office, with double needle stick in my arms after more blood work, I want to feel sadness and frustration at my own ailments.. and I then I think of the gift that this incredible athlete shared with me.. I think of the gift that the man who was in an adult stroller with a smile on his face shared with me as his sister pushed him along a 5 mile race, and I think of the little child that had a scar on her head cheering me on this past weekend as I ran past her at the 5k race that I did on Saturday for the “Hole in the Wall gang camp”. We all have a story, we all have a struggle, and we all have so much love.
God is a forever teacher.. sometimes I doubt him, I question him, I feel angry at him.. and then I remember the faces of those so full of light and joy… finding peace within their pain. Grace is all around us. And so, we ride on…….