Grateful Heart Monday

It’s time for another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude is always at the core, which for today is for getting a very old Gary Fischer bike up and running again after it had been sitting in a storage unit or a garage for over 14 years!

Many moons ago, when my mother was still alive, one of the gifts she gave me and my partner at the time, Jerry, were two really nice brand new Gary Fisher mountain bikes in early 2004. They were meant for recreational use on the island I was living on at the time, that being Chincoteague, Virginia, where the bed and breakfast I once owned was situated. While Jerry didn’t use his bike that much, I was on mine on just about every day and truly loved it. At my peak, I’d spend several hours covering usually 27 miles on it or more, which I found to be such a healthy escape, one that cultivated inner peace each time I did. Sadly, when I left my relationship and my life at that Bed and Breakfast in May of 2007, my bike went into storage and remained there gathering dust ever since, floating from one storage unit to another, until eventually it made its way into my garage here in Toledo a number of years ago, where many times I’d sit on its seat, hoping to one day ride it again.

Up until my early June trip to Saugatuck, Michigan, I hadn’t ridden on a bike since 2010, when all my health issues began. My mind and body had never really felt up to it. But, after doing a few miles on a bike from the resort Chris and I were staying at during that trip, and then doing another 14 more on a rental during my visit to see Cedric in Massachusetts in late June, I thought it might be finally time to try returning to an activity I really missed, even if it was on a limited basis based upon my health. Looking at the state of my old bike in my garage was a sad sight though. The chain was a mess, the wheels weren’t spinning anymore, the brakes weren’t working, and the tubes in the tires were shot. The frame on the other hand still looked to be in good shape, so I had a little faith. Enough so, that I loaded it into my partner’s vehicle and headed to CycleWerks Bicycle and Fitness in Whitehouse, Ohio, as they had been recommended.

The first question I asked as soon as Luke, one of the repair technicians there, approached me was whether it was financially feasible to repair my bike or should I scrap it. Truthfully, I think if he had said it was beyond repair, I probably would have just left it with him to scrap and left all desire to bike again on the back burner. Thankfully, he didn’t say that though and instead said he could get it back up and running for less than $200! I was ecstatic to hear this news, mostly because the bike also represented a loving memory of my mother.

A week later, I was back at the shop to pick my bike up, where sitting on it once again and taking it for a quick test ride on a trail nearby felt totally exhilarating. When I got it up to almost 20mph, I smiled, feeling grateful to have it fully functional again. But, truly the most grateful moment in this experience has come right now with a thought.

Maybe just like this bike being able to get fully restored when I thought it was truly down and out for the count, that my health can be too. All it took was holding on to a little faith when I brought my old Gary Fisher bike to a shop simply because its frame still looked ok. So, maybe I just need to keep a little faith in the Master Technician as well, leaving my frame in His hands, continuing to believe that He too can and will still fully restore me as well…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Question For The Day

Today’s question is…

How do you best offer your heart to others in this world? (ex. Singing, cooking, gardening, writing, preaching, playing an instrument, etc.)

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

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Daily Reflection

“Feed my sheep.” (John 21:16)

For the longest time I never quite understood what Christ meant exactly when he spoke to Peter and said, “Feed my sheep”. At first, I really believed it meant I was supposed to help people become Christians by talking about the Bible and giving them some sort of Biblical testimony about the love for God. But this never worked for me for several reasons.

For starters, I believe there are many paths to God, following the love of Christ is just one of them. Secondly, I don’t label myself a Christian because that’s a man-made term. I simply follow the teachings of Christ and choose not to label it any further. And lastly, I’m not a religious type of guy who feels a calling to do missionary work where conversion to a type of faith is at its core. This is precisely why I struggled immensely each time I read that passage in the Bible where Christ told Peter to “Feed my sheep”. But, could it mean more than what I once thought? Only recently did I come to a deeper understanding with this.

Maybe Christ was simply talking about loving his children through the gifts we are each blessed with? Maybe we all are meant to feed Christ’s sheep in our own unique ways? In my case, maybe I’m doing just that in all the passion I put into my 12 Step recovery work, especially when I do any of my speaking engagements where I share my testimony of addiction to recovery? And maybe each time I work with anyone in my recovery work in general, whether that’s with an individual or in front of a group, passing on my own message of understanding, hope, and love, is feeding God’s sheep?

As I pondered this, maybe doctors are already feeding God’s sheep when they work to help improve the health of their patients? Maybe musicians do the same each time they sing or play their instrument to their hearts content in front of an audience? And maybe gardeners beautifying nature at another’s home, therapists working to help improve their client’s mental and emotional health, chefs preparing tasty culinary cuisine for another, etc., each feed God’s sheep each time they utilize their gifts with love in their heart.

So, maybe all Christ meant when he said to Peter to “Feed my sheep” was simply to just follow whatever our passion is in this world and offer it to others with unconditional love in our hearts, as isn’t that at the core of all of Christ’s teachings? Regardless, this is the very basis of why I continue to follow Him and do my best each day to feed God’s sheep in the unique ways He blessed me with.

Dear God, please help me to always use whatever gifts You’ve given me to do my part in feeding your sheep.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson