I was on the Trinity Trail bike path early in the morning and cycling around a bend in the Trinity River when the rising sun jumped out from behind the distant row of trees on the other side of the river. The brilliance of the light momentarily shocked me, making the path in front of me almost impossible to see. Stopping seemed the smart thing to do.
Of course, I hadn’t noticed the guy sitting on the bench next to the trail just ahead of me. For that matter, I hadn’t noticed the bench. The pale blue sky with hues of orange and yellow stood stark against the gray shapes and shadowy trees along the trail, and staying focused on the path seemed the smart option at the time.
But I had to stop to allow a few moments for my eyes to adjust to the shock of this new light. The guy on the bench spoke to me, “You’d be surprised how many people come close to hitting me about this time every morning.”
My first thought was why would he be sitting there waiting for cyclists and their near misses. Then it occurred to me he probably slept there each night. But once again, there I was making assumptions in the dark. Soon enough, as my eyes adjusted and the rising sun illuminated more of the scene, I saw an elderly man dressed in a sport coat, with a cane and a small brief case beside him, holding a Starbucks cup of coffee.
I asked, “You sit here every morning?”
“No,” he laughed. “But whenever I do sit here, it’s always about this time. And someone comes speeding around that bend. And the sun peeks over those trees and the cyclists get blinded and have to swerve to miss me.”
I suppose the obvious question I should have asked is, “So why do you keep sitting here at this time?”
Instead I asked, “How many of them stop?”
He smiled, “You’re the first.”
Now, I don’t want to make too much of this encounter or my stopping. The fact is that most people out on an early morning ride on the trail are there for the exercise and have to make the best of their time to get back home and ready for work. I understand that completely. I suspect the guy on the bench did, too.
But it might surprise you to discover that we soon realized my reason for stopping and his reason for being there were part of some larger matter that neither of us had expected that morning as we got up to start our day. But somehow I must have known. Somehow he must have known. Deep down I think we all have those times when we can feel it — this Big Magic of which we are all a part.
I hope you can join us this Sunday at 9:39 and 11:11 am as we continue to explore Big Magic, the story of the man waiting by the “pool” (in the Gospel of John), and what the heart comes to know when we feel the permission of life saying “yes.”
Sunday, April 24
nine:thirty-nine and eleven:eleven celebration
“the heart feels what the eyes cannot always see”
with the music of The Beatles, Marti Walker, and
guest vibraphonist Annan Kirk
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