Bicycle Tale April 2018
This week Ping was happy to be able to walk to work because the week before he had been sick with the flu and he hadn’t gone anywhere. At the job, he ran into his friend Ricky who proudly told Ping that he had bought a bicycle and would no longer have to walk to work. As Ping was walking home that night his Cousin Sam whipped up next to him in his newly-bought 20-year-old, little, brown Toyota pickup truck.
Sarah passed both of them in her new Lexus and wondered why they were so happy. Two blocks down the street she passed Reginald who sat outside the assisted living house in his wheelchair watching everyone go by on the road heading out of town. Ping was happy for Sam, happy for Ricky, and happy for himself. Ping had found the secret to a happy life.
When I was selling real estate down in Mexico, I would drive south to San Felipe 117 miles down the Baja Peninsula on the Sea of Cortez. It was desert, pure desert. I would arrive around 6:00 on Friday evenings. My clients would come down on the company bus from all over Southern California and arrive around 11:00 on Saturday morning. From that point on, I was with them until they left tired but happy around 4:00 on Sunday afternoon. I couldn’t go to church on Sunday mornings. Instead, I would attend the Prayer and Worship service in the barrio “church” Friday evening. This is what I learned from those kind, good 25-30 people who attended.
First, I learned that my Spanish language skill was very low. About the fifth time I showed up, late as usual after a five hour drive, they waived me down to the front of the group circle. There they had a delightful fellow named Chavo who watched me carefully. If he saw consternation on my face and knew I wasn’t picking up what was being said, he would start a simultaneous translation into English. I felt like the President of the United Nations.
Second, I quickly understood that many of the folks in the little congregation were suffering with illnesses from colds, to the flu, to cancer. Through a series of unusual circumstances, I had donated three, used, recliner chairs. There the cancer victims would rest as we prayed. I was healthy.
Third, and this was the most profound for me, they prayed. Here are just some of the things they had to say to Senior, to Jesus. “Gracias, Senior, that it rained today and our street is not so dusty.” “Senior, from my heart, I so appreciate the $20 that Juan sent from his job in Houston. This month we can eat.” “Thank you Dios that Papa Guillermo is not in pain from his cancer tonight.” On and on they went with gratitude for all the blessings that were also in my life. These were the very things which I took for granted. I was blessed beyond anything that these people had, yet . . .
They were happy. I was not. So as Ping would say, “I can walk to work today. Thank you, Jesus.” I soon came to understand that it was not life’s conditions that made one happy. It is, and always has been, a sense of gratitude for what we have. Be happy today, one happy day at a time, and you will be happy for all of your days and thereby all of your life.