“Hey!” I yelled to the man as he turned his bike around and gave me a look that you’d get from a long lost friend. I looked deep into his dark brown eyes, but I didn’t recognize him. Giving me a long stare, he said, “I remember you.” Despite not recognizing who the man was, I felt a connection with him unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I became transfixed with what he was saying as we began our conversation.
I kept a rigid posture and eye contact throughout our conversation. As I kept looking at him, I noticed the deep glare in his eyes almost as piercing as the sun, heating up the pavement of a freshly tarred empty parking lot. This man was a warrior.
Without getting into to many details, he told me, “I made a choice.” I then asked him, “Are you happy?” He responded, “That’s a tough one for me sometimes.”
We shared one of my smoothies early on in the conversation, after he accepted and insisted I have a drink with him. He came prepared for this moment, when he pulled out a shooter that we split.
What we talked about was so profound that when I left I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Before leaving we had some very simple parting words, “I’ll see you around.” As I mounted my bike and headed back I remember being very anxious. I had some uncontrollable energy that shot through every ounce of my body. The ride wasn’t very far. So I started peddling and I started pedaling faster… and faster… and faster. I barely looked as I crossed the streets in town. I came around the corner starting at a group of people just a few feet off from me. I reacted quickly and pressed both my brakes hard skidding around them. I sped through the alleyways and ‘shot out’ on the other side of the street. The air was damp and I felt the perspiration rolling down my face and then down my chest. I felt my shirt starting to stick to my back as the ride continued and the summer humidity increased. My breathing began to get very heavy and it wasn’t because I was tired… I just couldn’t get the look of his eyes out of my head.
Before meeting this man I had 15 minutes left before I had to be back at my place. I almost left to get back early to get prepared, but I decided that if I had 15 minutes I had better use it. And I did just that. If I had turned back home though, this opportunity never would have happened.
I ran into a local shop that I was familiar with and asked the person for a garbage bag. Surprisingly, they gave it to me without questioning it. It was almost as if they knew what I was going to do be doing with it.
I went around the corner and down the street, about a block away from the building I got the garbage bag from. I started picking up some trash. I decided to spend the last 15 minutes I had just picking up some trash around the train station. If you’ve read my other posts, I like to meet some friends and new people in town there. Some of the trash I found, I felt, I had ridden by on my bike numerous times. I had gotten used to seeing all the trash though. It almost became like it was just part of the environment in a way. But tonight, I wanted to change that…
I ended up filling up half of a large garbage bag after walking around the station. It’s amazing how much things can accumulate over time.
I met the man as I was finishing up and about to head back. We ended up talking for a long time, thus going a lot longer than the 15 minutes I had left when I started. I was glad I talked with him for that long though. He gave me a new perspective that I never had before and I’m extremely grateful for that.
What I will say about this conversation is… each of our lives are made up of the choices we make. Each one of us has a choice every single day to decide how we want to live, what we want to watch, who we want to talk to, how much money we want to make, what we eat, what we drink and… what we think about it. Each of us is made up of our thoughts. That’s the one thing we have control over in our lives. What we think about and then what we do thereafter.
Let me ask you something… If you had 15 minutes to explain your life to someone what would you say? In turn, what would you hope that person got out of what you just told him?
That man made a choice a long time ago. He made a choice to become a soldier and serve his country.
“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” – John C. Maxwell