My husband and I caught our breath at the bottom of the sidewalk. Before us loomed our last and toughest hill of this bike ride and we knew we needed to peddle fast and build up speed to make it to the crest. Plus, we didn’t want to run over the couple coming toward us, especially since the woman was clearly expecting and their two dogs on leashes zigged and zagged across the path.
They moved to a lawn and waved, so my husband took off. I raced to catch up, peddling faster and faster, then slower and slower and slower. Any slower and I’d start rolling backwards. I stood up on my peddles as I passed the couple.
“Hello,” I said, pretending to be as fit as my athletic husband. Really, I was quoting The Little Engine That Could in my head. I think I can. I think I can. I think I–“WHOA!” CRASH!
My left foot slipped off the pedal and I fell with a clatter.
While his sympathetic wife gasped, the man ran to me. “Are you okay?”
Embarrassed, I stood without checking my wounds. “Yeah, I’m okay. Thank you.” I hastily pushed my bike the rest of the way up the hill and rode past my husband. “Let’s go home.”
Once there, we assessed my bruises and cuts and my husband said. “I’ve seen that couple before.”
That couple? Oh, yeah. They were such a blur. Would I know them if I saw them again?
That’s when I realized that I acted like a jerk. Not because I fell off the bike, but because I missed an opportunity to express humility and gratitude. My bike acrobatics offered the perfect chance to allow others to be the best version of their heroic selves–and for me to be the best version of my thankful self.
One day we could’ve reminisced, “Remember how we first became friends? You fell off your bike and did that cool, slow-motion fall, with the quirky, high-pitched scream?”
“Yeah! And you let your dogs lick my scrapes clean while YOU went into labor and we helped deliver your baby right then and there. That was so nice of you to name her ‘Grace,’ after me.”
“It was the least we could do. You were bleeding and all.”
Sigh . . .
Sometimes we miss opportunities, when pride goeths AFTER the fall.