As I have written before, I have been riding my bike to work this summer and it has been a surprisingly great exercise in gratitude. Every day when I ride I am reminded of so many things that I generally take for granted.
For many people in the world, a bicycle is a treasure. It is the means to start a business, or commute to a job and still come home to family, or to be able to go to school. For me, it is a luxury; I get to choose to take my bike instead of driving. It seems strange that the method requiring more work is actually the luxury here in the U.S., but it’s true.
I have the physical ability to ride a bicycle. I work close enough to home that it is not a burden to commute this way; I don’t have to choose between supporting my family and seeing them every night. My workplace is safe and clean enough that I can breathe while riding. These are not benefits that I would even think about having most of the time. An unexpected side effect of this change has been a repeated reminder of my own privilege. Every morning I think about billions of people around the world and how different their experiences and points of view are from mine. Still, we are interconnected and their struggles are not any less worthy than mine.
I have also been surprised at the response I have gotten from several co-workers. While a few people have been supportive, most seem to view me as a trick pony or a dancing bear. Isn’t it just adorable the way she rides her bike? No cheek pinching, so far.
It’s funny, when we find spiritual growth in the most unexpected places.