My husband squeezed my road bike into the back of the car as I gathered all my riding gear – water bottle, gloves, helmet, cycling shoes, phone, sun glasses – check. At the last moment, I grabbed my favourite jacket and headed to the car. Chris questioned my need for the jacket since it’s so warm out today but I insisted on bringing it because many times in the past, it has felt warm…until I got on a bike and start pedalling into the wind. I wanted to be prepared so I threw the jacket on top of my pile of gear and headed to a quiet, long and winding road.
Of course, as soon as I got on my bike and had ridden about two hundred meters, I realized I didn’t need to wear a jacket so I did what I often do when I’m riding – I shed a layer – I threw my jacket into the bushes with the intention of picking it up on the way back and I kept going.
It was a great ride. My legs felt good, I was pedalling at a good cadence for an early season ride and all was well until I arrived back to the designated bushes and realized that my jacket was gone. I was a bit perturbed because Chris had bought me this LIVESTRONG jacket in the States when I was going through a “I want to be just like Lance Armstrong” biking stage a few years ago. As I stood on the side of the road, straddling my bike and wondering what to do, I looked up and saw an individual, walking up the road about a hundred metres away… and by George, it looked like he was wearing my jacket!
I jumped on my bike and rode towards the man. As I approached him, I saw that he was poorly dressed and pushing a cart. If I could do it all again, I would respond differently but I didn’t stop to think about the confrontation – I just wanted my jacket back.
Excuse me, I was just wondering where you got that jacket.
The man shrugged his shoulders, put his head down and kept walking.
Excuse me, but I think you picked up my jacket back there. I left it by the bushes when I was riding because it was getting too hot.
The man stopped but he didn’t say anything. He took off the jacket and gave it to me. Then he kept walking again. At this point, I realized that there must be a better way to communicate with this man.
Do you need this jacket? If you need it, you can have it.
This man looked at me with such shame on his face and said, “No.” His head went down, he balanced the load in his cart and shuffled away.
I blew it. I really blew it. I could have been so much more loving and generous.
I was going to start this blog with “I caught a glimpse of the homeless mindset this morning” but in reality, I got a glimpse of myself. What a painful reminder of how much I miss the mark.
Jesus would have given His coat.
Love your neighbour as yourself. Mark 12.31