Truth, perception and lives touching lives  

HDHoggly 64M
20 posts
2/21/2006 7:41 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Truth, perception and lives touching lives

I once had a friend who I loved as a brother who died suddenly of leukemia. A couple days prior to his death he had requested that I clean and take his Harley to a local bike show. The day before I was to enter it in the show he passed away. What was I to do? This man had touched my life in a way no one prior to had. He accepted me. He made no demands of me just accepted me and took me in as though I truly was his brother. Even within my immediate family I had never known this type of acceptance. They were quick to point out my failures at every turn. Not Bill, in fact to my knowledge he really never passed judgment on anyone, just accepted him or her for who they were. The day had come to enter the bike, how could I do anything else? It was after all one of his dying wishes. Once the bike was in its assigned spot, I covered it with a black cloth in his memory as a sign of my grief. My assignment now was to watch over the bike and stay there all weekend with it. I sat between it and my own motorcycle which at this point and time only served to remind me that I would never ride again with my “older brother”. As I sat there I began to notice that person upon person passed by and as they saw the covered bike they looked down to see his name placard and then back at me. As I watched I saw the same grief I was feeling fall upon them. Many returned and placed single red roses at the base of his front tire. As our eyes would meet I saw the tears of grief in both women as well as some of the hardest men I knew. It dawned on me, this man; my “brother“ had sent me here to teach me one more lesson. I sat there in my grief and realized that he had touched many, many, many lives by just living his life and being true to himself, passing judgment on no one, accepting all who came his way with a smile and hug. Yes, a hug. That was one thing that took awhile for me to get used to when I met him; he hugged me whenever he greeted me. It was after all the one thing I had spent my 20 something years of my life wanting from my parents. And here was a man who gave of himself and time freely just because he accepted. I only hope each of us can learn from him. I know I have spent the last 30 years trying to follow his example and I still have much to learn.

On a trip from Kansas City to northern Minnesota a group of us pulled into a gas station for fuel. As we stretched our legs and stood and spoke with each other another rider pulled up to the pumps. After he had paid for his gas he approached us. As he walked up to us he asked, are you boys Hell’s Angels? I turned and for the first time really looked at this stranger. There before me stood a rather large man in bib overhauls, clean shaven, shorthaired, with a big smile showing his missing front teeth. He looked like a farmer not someone who rode. (At least not like my group of friends). After telling him no, we’re not the Hell’s Angels, he began to speak about his motorcycle. He asked if we wanted to look at it. Not wanting to offend him or cause any issues in a community which was not my own, I walked over with him as did a couple of the other guys. He lovingly began to tell us about his ride. He told us how it had carried him without fail everywhere he wanted to go. We stood there looking at, of all things, a Honda. Not just any Honda but an old Gold Wing. Something that, as a die hard Harley rider, I normally wouldn’t give a second look. I listened to him describe it. My mind wandered between his story and his bike. First there was the plastic milk crate complete with 3 fishing rods and a small tackle box in it, where the tour pack once was. Then my eyes wandered as I saw a narrow strip of vinyl across the seat, that had once been a much larger piece and had covered the foam which was now exposed. I then peered through the dim light to the hole where the gauges once were, which seemed to have been removed to reroute the cables to the clutch and throttle. The scratched paint and dented front fender came into view. And yet he stood there telling us how wonderful this bike was. And he did this in the presence of my clean chrome and custom painted Harley which I lovingly modified to fit my large frame and keep me comfortable on long runs. How could he be so proud in such presence? Then my eyes truly opened and I remembered my “Brother” whom I had lost a year before. As I remembered him, it came to me that even in this he wouldn’t have placed judgment on this man or his bike, And then I realized this man’s perception of his bike was also his reality, and that made it the truth to him regardless of what anyone thought. O.K. Bill, I got it!! It’s not about being the biggest or baddest. Neither is it about having the fastest and nicest bike. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin and accepting people for who and what they are. Perceptions, whether based in fact or not, are reality to them who have them.
If you are a person who believes in a Supreme Being, who will one day sit in judgment over a person prior to entering an after life, picture this, as you enter the court room where judgment is passed, read the sign next to the doorway, that simply reads,
“No Help Wanted”

Take care and remember you are the only you the world will ever see

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