Two weeks back, I had an interesting experience while walking home from work.
It produced a question that I still work about without full resolution, and so I hand it to my readers for their own use.
I was crossing the Gordon River bridge; leaving downtown Naples. The bridge has a walkway, perhaps four feet wide, and with a series of light posts that interrupt the walkway; producing a narrow throat where the posts are located. It makes passing one another a bit of a gamble and a game, as you attempt to predict speed and intent of a person coming from the other direction. Do you slow down, speed up, step to the side, go first, go second. These are all choices one makes as they attempt to accommodate other foot and bicycle traffic. We take these kinds of conditions with normalcy, think little of them, and routinely include them in most of our travels. Just try walking in a shopping mall without your mind constantly engaging in physics and math calculations, as well as psychological predictions and assertions.
Now I was nearing the end of the bridge. Before me were two more narrow throats in the walkway where light posts were located. And coming towards me were two bicyclists. I could easily see that we would meet at the last light post. As one bicyclist was close behind the other, I assumed them as traveling companions.
My attention came to the first bicyclist and our eyes and focus of thought came together as we approached one another. We both had the same conclusion and physical reaction; to yield to the other. I stepped to my right and slowed my walk with the anticipation that both bicyclists would pass by. The first bicyclist quickly slowed and came to a stop to his left with the anticipation that I would continue and pass by. We were in one thought and purpose; to yield to the other in respect and safety. Our eyes acknowledged each other for working as one body, and as he had made the greater effort to yield in stopping his bicycle, I proceeded with renewed pace.
What neither of us calculated at that moment was the action of the second bicyclist. I thought they were together, so the second bicyclist would likewise yield. The first bicyclist never knew there was another behind him. They were not together, and the second bicyclist continued his pace; passing the first and coming my way.
As quickly as the first bicyclist and I came to an agreement of yield, I found that the second bicyclist and I likewise came to an agreement; that we were to pass one another without impeding our individual speeds. We kept our eyes upon each other, he smoothly passed on my right, and we acknowledged each other for working as one body in respect and safety.
As I came off the bridge, the first bicyclist was just beginning to set himself back on his bike. He was clearly irritated with something that had just taken place, and he sneered out, “Can you believe that guy?!”
Of the two bicyclists, who best demonstrated Christian ideals of love for another?
Enjoy the brain tease, and God Bless – Reese