The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. — J.P. Morgan
Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility. — Sigmund Freud
The tendency to avoid challenge is so omnipresent in human beings that it can properly be considered a characteristic of human nature. But calling it natural does not mean it is essential or beneficial or unchangeable behavior. It is also natural to defecate in our pants and never brush our teeth. Yet we teach ourselves to do the unnatural until the unnatural becomes itself second nature. Indeed, all self-discipline might be defined as teaching ourselves to do the unnatural. Another characteristic of human nature — perhaps the one that makes us most human—is our capacity to do the unnatural, to transcend and hence transform our own nature. — M. Scott Peck
The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live. — Norman Cousins
Half of the art of living is a talent for dying. — Huston Smith
I needed a break. I stopped at a convenience store for a drink. There were two guys inside, both Hispanic, one behind the counter, leaning on it, and one in front. We talked about the day’s heat and how they had been seeing cyclists since the racers came through.
“Yeah man, where is the rest of your group?”
“Oh it’s just me. I’m riding solo.” The two raised their eyebrows and glanced at each other. The guy behind the counter stood up. My brow furrowed in response to their movement. “What?”
“Well, it’s just that this isn’t the best road for bicycles. Not a lot of people around here care enough to share the road, you know? And on top of that you’re alone. This isn’t the best road for a white boy to be alone. You know what I’m saying?”
“Yeah, I hear you. Thanks for the heads up.”
“Yeah, when you get back on your bike I wouldn’t stop until you get to Cuba. That’s another 40 miles down the road.”
“What’s the road like? Flat at all?”
The clerk’s friend spoke up while he shook his head. “No, it’s all up and down. It’s not even the best road to drive because of all the hills. It’s probably worse on a bike.”
I was riding a prejudice, non-cyclist friendly road. Great detour. I finished my snack and grabbed another sports drink.
“Good luck out their, man.”
“Hey, thanks guys. I appreciate it.”
In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety. — Abraham Maslow
We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation… we are challenged to change ourselves. — Viktor E. Frankl
“Are you broke down,” the driver asked. He wore a blue plaid shirt under a set of red Carhartt suspenders, white hair blended into gray sideburns that faded back to snow white on his chin.
“Oh no, I’m just lubing the chain.” I arched my back into a stretch.
“You must be doing that bike race.”
“Well, I’m not racing, but I am riding the route.”
A woman spoke from the passenger seat of the car. We all talked a bit about the route and the documentary that had a scene filmed at the church we stood outside of.
“Do you two know this road pretty well?”
“Good. I’m trying to avoid the rain and mud and am thinking of following this road to get to Silver City. Is there anything on this road? Any place I’ll be able to stop?”
Without a look to his passenger, the driver said, “Yeah. Mile marker 23.”
Mile marker 23? Now here’s a man that knew how to give directions. I laughed with his specificity. “What’s at mile marker 23?”
With a quick glance at his wife this time, “Well, we are.”
I glanced around for a mile marker. “You mean we’re at 23 right here?”
“No. I mean us,” he said pointing to himself and his wife. “Our home is at mile marker 23. Why don’t you stop by. We’ll feed you and let you used the spare bed, get a good night of sleep. How does that sound?”
Too good to be true. “Well, how far is it from here?”
“I’d say about 25 miles.”
“Well, that sounds wonderful then,” I said, not sure what to make of the situation. We hadn’t even introduced ourselves, but I had accepted an invitation to dinner. Strange? Maybe a little. But I wouldn’t have to stay if I felt at all uncomfortable.
“All right. What would you like for dinner?”
Like? I must have looked ridiculous, slack-jawed and sweat-stained. I was still so surprised at having been invited to dinner that I couldn’t comprehend deciding what dinner would be. “I’m not a picky eater, especially these days.”
“All right. Can we take your bags for you and lighten your load?”
“Oh no, I’ll hold on to those.” I didn’t have any suspicion of foul play. To give up the bags was another step toward an easy ride that I didn’t want to take. An easier route to avoid weather was one thing; pawning my gear off onto somebody else was quite different. “Mile maker 23, right? I think it will be a couple of hours before I get there.”
“We’ll be there. Just ride on in.”
“Ok. I’ll see you soon.”
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. Because it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it. ― Maya Angelou