One of the first things I came to know about R when I met him is that he is a "love by doing" kind of guy. Oh, not that he is inarticulate or anything. We have wonderful and wide-ranging conversations about anything and everything. But when it comes right down to it....if you want to know who he is...watch him in action. So this whole bike thing really should have come as no surprise to me.....
As some readers of the blog know, I bought myself a bike for my birthday. I was taken by the lovely purple color, and yes, the low-low price at the big box store. I was also taken in, I fear by the smooth talk of the guy who said he knew how to assemble the bikes. He's the husband of an ex-coworker, and as such, I was more than willing to believe him. Perhaps he was truthful, and the bike was simply a lemon, or his rhetoric outweighs his skills. At any rate, the loss of the pedal on the first ride was not a fluke. The bike was not up to par. The rear brake would not release, the frame was funky, and the whole bike just wasn't right! We had both looked at it and made a decision that the best thing was to take it back and get a refund. I knew this meant I would likely be bikeless at least for a while, as I had looked at the other discount place in town (what we have here for retail options) and there was nothing in my price range that looked any better, and the local bike shop was waaaaaay out of range even for a "starter" bike. I was feeling kind of bummed about this and R knew it. We had fun even on our ill-fated starter ride with my crummy bike and were looking forward to going riding together before the summer waned. But no bike was better than this bike, we reasoned. And maybe next year, I could afford a good one from the bike shop, or maybe I'd run across one somewhere yet later in the summer. *sigh* We planned to take the lemon back the next night after work.
The next afternoon was sitting at my desk when an e-mail popped up from R. "I found you a bike." The very same bike shop that had looked aghast and appalled when I asked them if they ever had anything in a used bike "just happened" to have a lovely women's used Schwinn commuter, all tuned up and ready for resale when he called them. Yep...you just have to know the right people in a small town! We went over after work and clinched the deal (which he also negotiated fabulously, BTW). I LOVE this bike!!!! It rides great and I feel free and safe and balanced on it in a way that I have not felt on a bike since I was a kid! Turns out he had been on line that day checking out the local "traders" for bikes too, before calling the bike shop. He really put himself into this for me and I was blown away. No one has ever done anything like this for me before...just saw something that I needed and gone and worked at getting it for me. And of course I reacted to that in kind, which kind of stunned R. His version of the story can be told in two seconds and five words, "I found Kate a bike" and he sees it as no big thing. But to me it's all about the way he loves, and who he is and the way my life has changed. I am no longer the only one taking care of me. I don't have to figure it all out, fix it all, cover it all. The buck doesn't stop here anymore, and that feels so incredibly good!
Every time I look at that pretty white bike with the purple-ish trim I have to smile. It's a symbol of love to me. Just like my clean gutters and our lovely garden and the fans that run again and all the other little things that work again that didn't before he was in my life. I understand how God loves me better since R is in my life. I get in a new and visceral way what it is like to be beloved.....to feel deeply cared for, surrounded, protected and nurtured by love. I am so blessed. And so grateful.