The Two Bicyclists

Bicyclist 1

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.U.S. 41 - Google Maps

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?!”

The Question

Of the two bicyclists, who best demonstrated Christian ideals of love for another?

Enjoy the brain tease, and God Bless – Reese

God Is With Us

So Somebody Put Out the Fire

God's Hand 2

Perhaps by now – for those who have read a few of my posts – you might think that all things in my life are in the hands of God, and He holds me with tender care and love.  I do feel His love and I shall always know that He loves me with an unquenchable fire.  I also know now that He must sometimes quench the heat of my pride in the waters that will temper my spirit to the strength that it must be in order to bring about righteous sanctification.  I imagine He’d rather see us all sanctified than “purgatorified”, though I also imagine only a few Saints, if any, have ever passed Go and collected Monopoly’s two-hundred dollars without some time in the waiting room.

God hands out no free passes and the trials we face are good opportunities to acknowledge the good path that God has set before us.  Suffering comes into trial when knowledge is in want and the lesson must be learned.  We all have those moments, as have I, and one such lesson I can recount here.

Over the past year I had worked with a client on the design of her new residence.  She had a spiritual mélange of experiences; Presbyterian, Christian Scientist, dabbles with Eastern mysticisms, and New Age encounters.  From this all came a mindset that saw truths as illusions and it played viciously against my efforts to move our project along a path of reality.  All discussion of design became subject to the most meticulous assessment of even the smallest of matters.  And decisions made through this process were continually reassessed in the form of long lists of repetitive thinking that wasted time, spawned endless dead-ends, and endorsed illogical design-processes.

This process created quite a maelstrom for my spirit and there were days when I came home physically ill from a long day with the client. I felt an intense pressure being exerted upon my spirit to another course of belief.  It was as if my client had the ability to directly interfere with my walk with my Lord; to confuse all faith and doctrine within me.  Honestly, I sensed evil.  Poorly, I had chosen my mind to deal with this trial rather than leaving it to God. Continue reading God Is With Us

The Order of Willingness

“Blind as we are, we hinder God, and stop the current of His graces. But when He finds a soul penetrated with a lively faith, He pours into it His graces and favors plentifully.”  Brother Lawrence

Blinded by Darkness 1

In my previous post, God’s Work & My Work, I discussed those instantaneous changes in my life that God simply gifted upon me that early morning in January.  For me, they were miraculous and transforming; a new state of being that was foreign, fascinating and salvific.  To this day I find myself constantly reflecting on what I have referred to as the surrealism of my continuing path in life.  Reality in my adult life was one of the physical.  There was no spirituality within because I had been methodically walked – by my family experience and society’s push to relativism and enlightenment – to the belief that things not seen are things not in existence.

Now do not misinterpret what I say here.  While as a child I was subject to the family experience without the capability to discern and affect that experience until of sufficient age, and then it was clearly too late, I was not a victim to society at all.  I actively sought out the desires I found within me; taking them on as rights of being.  As one learns, one acts; for good and evil.  In the physical world, one only cooperates as long as it contributes to one’s needs.  The world is very competitive, unforgiving, and seemingly indifferent to suffering.  The world produces fear which produces sin.  God creates things, and all things are good.  Man creates choice and action, and in those choices and actions resides sin and evil.  No, I earned my way into sin; one lust, one excess, one abuse, one indifference, one unloving act at a time. Continue reading The Order of Willingness

Choice or Willingness – Part Two

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Willingness 1Along with Kathryn, I attended a seminar at St. Peter the Apostle Church a few nights back in Naples, Florida.  The speaker was Father Matthew Linn, a Jesuit and healing therapist from Minnesota.  He asked the question at the end of his talk, “Can you think of what you have been most grateful for this past year?

My answer was immediate and simple, and also a little shocking for me.  “I was most grateful for the fact that God had revealed a truth to me about human choice and human willingness.” I say shocking in the fact that this realization seemed to come so easily to a person who lived his adult life not really defining gratitude, let alone coming to any conclusion on something spiritual and meaningful.

The result of this revealed understanding – in the physical – has translated into an incredible deepening of my spiritual relationship with God; His Word, and His will through the reading of the Old and New Testaments, and an intense study in Philosophy and its relationship with Theology.  In the physical, it brought me an exercise routine this year – walking – that has improved my overall health, and has brought about a loss in weight of twenty-eight pounds.  In the physical, I am being led to walk the Camino de Santiago; to fulfill the death of my past and ensure the life of my future in God. Continue reading Choice or Willingness – Part Two

How Deep Is Deep?

Deep Ocean 1I would like to return to my diary at this point in my posts.  While this blog, Travels of a New Christian, will delve into many matters, the constant impetus that drives my discourse on subjects is clearly the chronological events that took place from January 13, 2009, through today, and beyond; and so I regress to 2009.

I had, as one could imagine, many questions and thoughts regarding what had taken place in my life; God’s intervention, and the dramatic and sudden transformation of that life into something that few people did not recognize; and either marveled at it, was quite confused by it, of simply thought I was acting a bit unusual for someone they had seen so steady for so many years.  I certainly gave most of my family and friends the opportunity to hear all about it.  I was not shy on this matter.  I needed people to know what had taken place, and I needed them to know that God was real.

Part of what drove me forward with my spreading of the ‘good news’ (I had not read but a book or two from the New Testament, so I knew not what I was spreading) were the questions I had; both as to the nature of God, and to what I was experiencing as this new disciple.  Searching out the nature of God was a matter that drove me to look in all directions without exclusion to any.  It was more like fishing with a great net rather than with a baited hook.  All things in my throw were caught, examined for some purpose, released or consumed. I left few experiences without categorization; like the librarian codifying the library books, publications, and audio/visual materials.  Some experiences, though, remained obscure; hopefully to be understood at a later time.  Two such things were of particular interest to me, and I would find out later, they were inextricably linked together. Continue reading How Deep Is Deep?