Sunday, December 2, 2012

Melancholy, Meditation, and Medicine


A little before sunset, I set out for a couple of  hours. Sometimes I ride when I don't know what else to do. When life becomes difficult, I find that the rhythm of turning cranks and removing other sources of outside stimulus helps the meditation process. I have learned that pedaling can often be good medicine.

I lost my father-in-law yesterday. His three children lost their father. His wife lost a husband, and many people lost a wonderful friend. I share in the collective grief, and I hurt for all of them. But in addition to that, I have my own sense of loss. I remember meeting him the first time my wife (before we were married) brought me home to meet her parents.  I can only imagine what he must have thought of such an immature kid with his eldest daughter. But he always treated me like I was special.

He was truly like a second dad for me.  He was always patient, warm, hospitable, and in spite of my profound clumsiness, included me in his activities. I've spent many hours in his shop with him helping him build airplanes. It would have been more efficient for him to do things himself, but he took the time to teach me how to do things so I could be a part of his world.  He made me feel like I was useful to him, and when we talked about more serious matters, he made me feel like I was making good decisions. Is there anything better for a man than this kind of affirmation?

I can only hope he knows how much I appreciate the gift of his daughter, that I've done my best to take good care of her, and that I loved him dearly.

So I rode tonight with my one gear a good deal of time into a 20+mph headwind. But when your heart hurts this much, you can't feel your legs.





9 comments:

Scott said...

Very,very nice tribute. I know things hurt. But I have learned stuff from reflecting ,like you're doing. The patience, for one, is key. Wanting to spend time to develop and teach. May we both take this and help nurture our loved ones. The man had something on the ball. He saw potential in you and was looking out for his daughter too. Sorry for your loss. May we be grateful for what we have gained from knowing these fine people. Exquisite picture.

GravelDoc said...

I can tell by your words, Chris, your father-in-law was obviously quite a fine gentleman. I'm so sorry to hear of his passing. Your wife, family, and you are in our family's prayers tonight and in the days to come.

Jerome said...

Praying for you and your family. God bless and give you peace in this time.

Peter said...

Sorry to hear of your loss Chris, my deepest sympathies to you and your family.

Steve A said...

The wind, however, does help dry the tears, if only briefly.

springfieldcyclist.com said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss, Chris. From your description, your father in law was obviously a man whose life should be celebrated. My prayers are with you.

Jon said...

MY condolences to you and yours. Keep him in your heart, always.

Chandra said...

Chris:
Very sorry to hear about your loss.
May God give you the strength to get through this difficult time.
Chandra

Philip Williamson said...

I'm sorry for this loss to you and your wife and your family. I love the way you portray the man, and I want to keep that in my mind as an ideal of how to behave.