I decided this morning that the New Sarum Diner would be a good choice for breakfast. As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw lots of bicycles leaning against the building. My immediate reaction: fear. I suspected that what I’d encounter inside would be members of the London Cycling Club. I rode with them for years before deciding I couldn’t even keep up with the slow group. Today I was afraid to talk to “real cyclists” about me quitting the Tour du Canada. Gulp.
Inside I saw “Ted” and lots of other jersey wearers. He and I got talking about mutual friends and the LCC. What a good guy. As I glanced around the booths, I realized that Ted was the only person I recognized. And that gave me pause. I was a board member, ride organizer and weekly club e-mail contributor for many years. A couple of times I was also the MC at the annual banquet. And now I’m unknown to almost everyone. How strange.
I thought back to my teaching career. Mostly I was a visiting teacher in forty different schools, working with visually impaired students. For six years, though, I spent a lot of time in one particular school, assisting blind students. A year or so after I retired, I dropped into that school to say hi to staff and students. Except there were no kids left who knew me. I walked the halls and entered the classrooms, but there were no young smiles of recognition aimed my way. “Who’s that guy?” I sensed the kids thinking. How strange some more.
Both of these experiences remind me to give in the present moment … and then let go. It may be that most of my contributions to people are short-lived in the face-to-face way. Some folks will remember me with tenderness years later but I likely won’t be in their lives anymore. And that’s okay.
And really, why look back? Those days are dead and gone. Instead, what can I bring forth now, and now, and now? What opportunities to do good in this world are there for the emerging?
On I go into my future.