In my line of work I’m trained to create awareness of and have understanding for people just doing the best they can with their given resources. It’s not always easy. A lot of us struggle with this especially when we see injustice in the world and in our personal lives and ask “How is this possibly the best someone can do?” Then you remember some people have resources and skills that meet their needs in a way that serve us and some have resources and skills that meet their needs in a way that hurt us. It’s not intentional, and we have to remind ourselves…”they’re just doing the best they can to survive – mentally, emotionally, and physically.” If you take out of the equation your expectations of and judgement around the word “best” you really can see that’s what’s going on.
While walking my dog last night, I became aware that someone had stolen my bike. They clipped the lock right off of it. There was likely some intentionality to it as the cable was still dangling on the bike rack cut clean through with bolt cutters. Ironically there were several other bikes on the rack not locked, and yet my teal beach cruiser was gone. I had to process some hurt and a feeling of violation and tried to default to my training to ease the pain in my heart and the pit in my stomach. It was tough. Thinking “geez…really? Stealing someone’s property is the best you got?” Sigh.
Then the compassion dropped in. How bad it must be for that person to feel that there was nothing else they could do…whether to replace their own transportation or sell it for money to get through this uncertain time. How bad it must be for someone to feel like that was the best and safest choice for them. And how could I be so certain that given the same desperation, I too wouldn’t have been forced to make an equally challenging decision with equally hurtful impact. You never know. You really don’t know how people see the world and how they weigh the choices in their mind and what constitutes an act of survival.
The feelings of hurt and violation gave way to gratitude for my punch buggy still in the parking lot and the little bit of income still coming my way. And the moment gave way to relief that I am not in a situation where I would have to make a choice like that. I felt compassion for that person and my heart and body relaxed.
My body now off the hook, my sadness gave way to chuckle. I felt kind of bad for whoever took my bike because within a few feet they probably realized how wonky the wheels were and how crappy the brakes were and how the handlebars flop down when you go over a bump. Worse, how the back fender doesn’t prevent dirt and mud from doing anything exept create a nice decorative V shaped outline on your back and pants. LOL I am betting right now there is some regret in the decision to take my bike if only over the low quality of the score.
It reminded me of how I felt after someone stole my jewelry armoire from my garage only to find it was filled with costume jewelry, my Disney name tags and a little box full of my daughter’s baby teeth. And worse, the discovery that the bottom drawer was filled to the brim with those special panties you wear during thay certain time of the month. Poor souls. I wouldn’t want to rifle through that drawer either. Absolutely NO GOLD in there.
So I’m good now. No sense punishing my body for someone else’s definition of “best.” So I can now say…
“Here’s to you bike stealer. I send you love today. Here’s hoping my bike helped you get to your job, or the store, or that it became a means to a financial end. I love you for helping me remember to have compassion for other people and the “best” decisions they make in times of desperation and in simple everyday life. Thank you for making me smile and laugh and for reminding me to be grateful for what I have, who I am and how I act toward others and upon the world. And, if you see my new bike out there, and you need it that much, please ask me for it. I will happily give it to you because that’s the “best” I can do with my given resources.”