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Monday, September 16, 2013

You Never Know Who Is Watching. Blog #100...

The blog you are reading is number one-hundred.  Over a period of less than six months, I have written one-hundred pieces of content consisting of various levels of quality, but nothing I would not be proud of any day of the week.  With this being a somewhat significant number for me, I have been debating what to do with this one and I still have no direct idea of what to write, so I will just go with it and see what happens.

I run.  Actually, from what some people have been asserting to, I should say I "still" run, because, as I mentioned in a previous blog, I run often and do not tell anyone.  This past Sunday I went for a run and ended up somewhere I did not expect to be, at least as far as distance is concerned.  Up here in the Atlanta suburbs, we have a "Greenway" of paved path and boardwalk which begins at the most distant northern suburb and travels nearly to Atlanta itself, all on top of a government sewer line which runs adjacent to a large creek (what else can you do with a sewer line?).  Going back to the story, on Sunday morning, as with many of my Sunday mornings, I decided to get on the Greenway and run south for a few miles, though I usually run north.  A few miles became a few more miles and I found myself about seven miles from my car, at a park, tired, sweaty, and thinking about how awful that journey back north was going to be.  

Generally, when I go for a run, I know where I am going, get to my stopping point and just turn around to head back, but this time I took a moment to sit down, pop my ear buds out and enjoy the sun for a bit outside of a pavilion (because sitting in the sun is the best thing for you to do while sweating).  Then he sat down beside me - George.  I was sitting there with my sunglasses on, looking at my phone, and George introduced himself to me.  He is seventy-three years old and rides a bicycle on the Greenway every Sunday morning, just as I run, but in the opposite direction to me.  Last Sunday, he went the opposite of his usual direction, just as I did, and we just so happened to meet at the same bench.  He and I talked for a bit and he told me about his wife passing away, and how Sundays had been their most important time together, so he had to take on a new hobby a few years ago to fill the lonely gap.  He quit smoking after she passed away and took up cycling because "It feels better than drinking."  After that, the conversation picked up on my end.

I told George about my sobriety commitment and he told me about his.  We talked about faith a little bit and I gave him a some background about my rocky past with the church, Seminary experience, and how running is now something that keeps me in check with God while allowing me to feel normal and fulfilled - being apart from the church.  Then he asked me about the notebooks in my backpack.
"Are you in school now, a writer, drawer - what?"
I told him about my blog and the basis of it being how my generation does not seem to understand the methods of effectively coping with the reality of the world.  How those within my age demographic for some reason feel entitled and as if the world owes them something and how so many of us have no idea what real commitment or real struggle actually is.
He then said something which will stick with me forever:
"Drew, I don't know you from anyone - you were just some young guy I sat next to because I was out of breath and needed to sit down somewhere.  I almost didn't because at my age, I was intimidated.  I saw a young guy sitting on a park bench with tattoos, long hair, stubble on his face, and muscular arms.  I just knew you weren't someone I wanted to be around, but you proved me wrong.  You, sir, are so intelligent, pleasant, and well-rounded that I feel horrible for thinking that way without speaking to you first."

Imagine that for a moment.  Imagine just what it feels like to have someone you had just met say something so sincere, yet entirely off-the-cuff to you.  I had no idea how to respond other than to thank him for his words.  Still, on Monday night, as I write this, my thoughts are still stuck in that moment, just a little.  George apparently hates computers, so he will never read this.  He also lives alone and only sees his family when they come from out of state for Christmas every other year.  I have no idea where he lives, and he never told me his last name.  I wanted to give him one of my cards, but that is something I do not carry when I run.  His response to my apology?
"I'm better off without your card.  Just wave if you see me on my bike sometime and I'll wave back.  You're doing big things and they'll get even bigger for you.  If I don't see you again, just remember that I told you so when you're on top of the world, Drew."

With that, he shook my hand and rode away.
Part of me wants to head south on my Sunday morning runs more often so that I can maybe wave at George or have another talk with him, but then I remembered we both take different directions on the Greenway - it was just that one day when we both happened to change directions and met in the middle.

I said all of this to you not as a way to boost myself or look like a saint.  This blog was simply meant to show you that being yourself every second of the day can have an impact in situations you may only have the chance to experience once.

You never know who is paying attention to you...

Grace and Peace,

-Add me.  Stalk me.  Tweet me.  I really don't mind.-
Twitter:  @JDrewSilvers


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