Remember last weekend, when Justine still couldn’t ride a bike? Fast forward to today, when I got this text message:
And this accompanying video:
Actually when I first mentioned that Justine was trying to ride without training wheels, I got some excellent advice from friends who had been through this themselves. I would have tried these techniques out too, if it hadn’t been for a note from my old friend Jeff, who offered to take her out with his five-year old son, and teach her. How could I dismiss that offer, since what Justine was actually missing was the chance for her dad to teach her. (Not that women can’t do this…its just that she gets so little fun stuff with Dad-types anymore.) And those of us who know him, know that Jeff LOVES doing fun Dad-stuff.
(Justine and Jett in warrior pose)
One thing I want to mention that makes his offer of bike-training time extra special, is that Jeff was diagnosed with throat-cancer last month. Here is his expressive blog, if you ever wanted to know what it feels like to to live with cancer by someone who lives large.
I don’t know what radiation therapy feels like, but I’m impressed that on a day off, he offered to help our family out with teaching Justine how to ride a bike. I know Vernon would love this too, as the two of them were friends, playing soccer on the weekends.
It’s hard to watch a friend fight cancer. I have no doubt Jeff and his family will pull through this. But as he and his wife, Jenna, and I discussed earlier, the life of suffering (even for just one dramatic season) is like taking the Red Pill in the Matrix. Suffering is hard, but when you learn about what suffering actually means, you wake up a little. The irony is, you wake up to life. I don’t have cancer, I hope I don’t get it, nor would I wish it on anyone, but I have several friends who are fighting it right now, and they all seem to share this heightened spiritual awareness. They have to choose it though. Not everyone does…or maybe even knows how to.
While Justine was riding her bike this afternoon, I was working on the mural project I’ve been sporadically working on over the past few weeks. You may remember when I worked the adjacent wall of this room last summer. Tanya had been diagnosed with breast cancer a week or so before I bought the paint for the job, which was the day Vernon got hit. Now I’m working on Wall 2, many months later, and Tanya has just finished her last radiotherapy session. “Her chemo is gone and the leftovers are all vacuumed up,” says her husband Bob.
(Here is just a preview…hope to get a finished picture up in the next week or so.)
Marvelous, the times we live in…that things like this can be fought so effectively. I know its serious, not everyone makes it, and that is what makes the fight so REAL.
What a strange life we lead. You never know what will happen to you or your loved ones. You really don’t. But what you DO have is good and worth fighting for. Enjoy it the best you can. Sometimes it takes a real scare to make us appreciate things. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get there without that?
“Do the best you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt