(This is a recurring series of the fifty events that shaped the course of my life and the person I’ve become along the way. It was actually supposed to recur weekly, but somewhere along the way, life happened. Welcome to my world… and my therapy.)
It’s pretty interesting to reflect back on my childhood…fifty years later! I identify and evaluate my experiences from a completely different point of view than I did when I was living it. Looking back, I lived a really simple and uncluttered life.
My dad was a carpenter and my mom stayed home to take care of me. Because I was an only child, I got a lot more attention and stuff than I would have, if there were siblings to divide up the spoils. There was not an abundance of money and possessions, but I never missed a meal and I never really had a need go unmet.
I had reached the pinnacle of neighborhood cool.
My parents really had no business buying me a bike like that, but my dad, in spite of his shortcomings in the intimacy arena, loved to give extravagant gifts to me…sometimes when there was no logical way to fit it into a limited family budget. He was just that way.
The week I got my bike, I started riding it down to our community Boy’s Club, where me and my friends would spend hours playing ping pong, kickball, and hanging out like young dudes have always done. One of the guys who hung out with us was really, really poor and usually got made fun of…even by some of my friends.
One day, after the other guys had left, this kid was checking out my bike and telling me how awesome it was. Sadness gripped me.
So I gave it to him.
Yup. In my heart, I knew he would probably never have a chance to have something that nice, so I wanted him to have it. I don’t remember all the details, but I still remember watching him ride off, as I turned around to walk home with a really happy heart.
My dad’s heart wasn’t quite as happy as mine, when I told him what I’d done. It was my dad’s special gift to me and he wanted me, his only son, to have it. So my dad did what good dad’s always do. We hopped into his pickup truck and went to retrieve my new bicycle.
But not before we stopped at the store to buy my little friend a new bike of his own.
Generosity and compassion don’t fall far from the tree they grow on.