I was on a walk with my meditation beads through Central Park when I observed a man slowly biking towards me. He was an adult, perhaps slightly younger than I, and he appeared to be struggling. Rather uncommonly.
Suddenly, he fell. He remained on his bike but could not move. He was stuck. No injuries; only embarrassment.
A number of onlookers bore witness to the curiosity with me. I tried not to stare. I fixed my mind on a few more mantras.
Then the man did the unthinkable. He gently asked another man to help him off his bike.
I internally did a double-take as the stranger smoothly helped him off.
“Thanks,” said the biker. And the man walked away with his significant other.
Our protagonist promptly returned to his biking and struggled onward awkwardly...
I was so moved by this scene, and the manner in which it continued!
There was no discouragement to take away from the fall... There was no shame in looking shamed. There was an acknowledgment of dependence that did not diminish dignity. And it all went on quietly as if it were nothing at all.
I felt there was a master at work, orchestrating the scene for me to see. I was just grateful to be given a lens to look on and learn that there didn't need to be anything discouraging about it.
How many times do we fumble and try to hide the evidence?
I wanted to hide that I ate almond milk ice cream tonight and finished the small amount that was leftover! I covered the container with an empty bag of chips (that I was not responsible for terminating!).
And to ask for help when we feel so weak, doing the things others make look easy?
I try to eat my regular dosage of humble pie. But I tell you, it’s not as easy as downing the container of almond milk ice cream or shrouding its vestiges. I’ll never forget that calm and earnest plea of the biker, or the simple, unselfconscious “thanks.”
We’re human. May we never forget it.
In a world where we shudder at that very fact and everyone tries to reflect its opposite, we get swallowed up in expectations and projections.
Entrepreneurs like Austen Heinz, Jody Sherman, and Aaron Swartz have committed suicide, rather than show their naked vulnerability to investors or employees.
Depression is on the rise for the very same reason...
Let this tragedy not continue, neither in gross, nor subtle ways. May the tragedy rather serve to remind us of what we’ve forgotten. Our unapologetic humanity.
If we could live so unselfconsciously and ungracefully, how much more could we accomplish? What would we strive to do that we never give ourselves permission to do? And how much happier would we be? To be free..
header image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarairachel/8151661242