Ever have one of those days when you want somebody to feel sorry for you?
Yesterday I was ready to have a pity party. I thought about sending out invitations so others could join in. It wasn’t a particularly bad day or anything, I was just feeling sorry for myself. It was hot (90 degrees) and I had to ride my bike home (3 miles).
The distance on the hot day was almost enough to keep me from getting on the bike to go home. But I am really trying to honor my commitment to myself; I am attempting to be a serious bicycle commuter. I have to remind myself of the benefits: exercise, saving money, getting to be outdoors, getting stronger as a cyclist…there are lots of benefits, really.
Back to my pity party (it’s all about me you know!) So there I was, time to go home from work and reminding myself of the benefits and the fact that no one in my family would be available to pick me up anyway. I got on the bike and rode 4 blocks to the Jennifer Street Bridge, which spans the railroad tracks I need to cross to get home. The bridge has switchback ramps that allow bikes to be ridden over but you have to be careful at the turns, watching out for others coming from the opposite direction.
As I neared the bottom on the other side, I could see two women chatting so I slowed down even more. By the time I made the last turn they had finished their conversation and started out on their runs down the lovely running/cycling trail. They weren’t together; one had started out ahead of the other woman at a faster pace.
The second woman was the one who caught my attention.
She was starting out on her run too, but a little more slowly. She was an amp runner. Her leg was fitted with the same state of the art device as the runner from South Africa, Oscar Pistorius, who ran in the Olympics.
As I was coming alongside to pass her on my bike, I wanted to say something, acknowledging her presence on the trail, but just saying Hi seemed not enough considering the effort she was putting out. So instead I called out “You go girl!” with a thumbs up.
It was 90 degrees in the middle of the day and she was going on her run. Suddenly my pity party came to a screeching halt. I was blessed with perspective at that moment. All of my whining and complaining looked so foolish in a blink of an eye. I was glad I hadn’t sent out invitations to my pity party after all.
I love how quietly God will draw my attention away from my minor issues to give me eyes to see someone with real issues. But she wasn’t feeling sorry for herself. She was cheerful and working to overcome challenge in spite of the weather and physical limitations. She called out to me, “have a nice day”, and I thought, how dare I not have a nice day?
Perspective. What challenge is in your day today? One piece of encouragement that I have gleaned from Scripture is that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. This part of God’s Word reminds me that the Creator of the Universe, Who spoke things into existence, lives in me and through His strength I am able to do all things. Including riding my bike 3 miles in 90 degree heat!
I don’t know that sweet woman’s spiritual condition, but her countenance was full of joy and her actions were full of perseverance and determination. Seeing her running did not make me feel sorry for her at all. Actually I was quite inspired to do what I can physically and at the same time humbled for my ungrateful attitude.
Perspective is everything. When you want to have a pity party, wait to send out the invitations. Gain some perspective instead.