It was a great week of riding — 177 miles for the week. Lots of sights, smells, and sounds. Plus, the beautiful sensation of rhythmic motion in gorgeous surroundings.
If you’re not already following my Spoke And Word page on Facebook, find me there for daily updates and short musings on what I think about each day while I ride. Below is my favorite contemplation for the week. Enjoy…
I was thinking about conflict during last night’s ride. I think about conflict a lot. I go to great lengths in avoiding conflict.
In increasingly complex times, it appears conflict is often around every corner and always straight ahead. If one keeps their vision fixed any screen for too long, be it a 7-inch screen or a 82-incher, there’s a good chance conflict will hijack and saturate their perspective on most things human. Guilty I am.
Though I don’t necessarily see the world that way — as choking on conflict, that other people see the world this way brings me down more than I often let on. Watch people struggle long enough, and their struggle becomes your own.
Some people have a better aptitude for absorbing and dealing with conflict. I’m not one of them. Others still, embrace conflict and feed off of it. Some even hunt it down. I’m not one of those either.
I grew up a typical suburban household with typical suburban parents. My parents, like many married couples, fought over typical suburban things — money, the kids, household priorities, time, etc. That is, they fought over small things — unnecessary conflicts that sucked energy and life out of the family. When my parents fought, they often yelled, especially my dad. It could get loud.
I have clear memories of hiding in my bedroom and often under my bed when my parents fought. Not that I ever thought they would come after me or become violent with each other — they just yelled. Being under the bed while they were yelling was like a protective cocoon to an eight-year-old. This is where my avoidance of conflict began.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents loved my brother and I, and they were incredibly good and generous to us. They worked hard to give us a good home. Unwittingly though, they allowed conflict to tear that home apart and our family eventually died from unnatural causes. They would end up divorced, and I would end up afraid of all things loud.
So where am I going with this…?
My parents no longer fight. They haven’t been married since 1977 and my dad has been gone for nearly 7-years. But conflict still surrounds me, and it still scares me in the same way it did when I was a child hiding in my room and under my bed.
Conflict today manifests in many ways and from many sources. Social conflict seems to be the rule of the day. Be it political, religious, gender related, food related, or gun related, it seems everything we discuss, has to be discussed with some amount of conflict.
In my own life, and in my human relationships, there is almost never conflict. I have built my life that way. Build each day with a foundation of good intentions, shore it up with the framework of listening in equal portion to speaking, and wrap it with patience and intelligence, and that’s a good plan for a conflict-free day. When conflict does arise in my life, it’s usually minimal and easily resolved.
When I open my 7-inch window to the world though, I’m usually met with conflict within a few seconds — not mine, but I become an instant witness to the conflict of others. It’s like when I was as a child and my parents would fight — I become a victim of secondhand conflict.
I no longer hide under my bed though, to avoid conflict. I ride a bike. My cocoon rolls on as it insulates and protects me. The rhythm of my ride muffles the screaming voices until they dissipate entirely. The sounds, the sights, and the smells of the road remind me that there is much more to the world then the fruitless arguments, the chest thumping, and the escalating voices of fools on an uncharted course to nowhere.
This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb
This Week By The Numbers…
Bikes ridden: 4
15.0 mph avg
11 hours 47 minutes in the saddle
Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there is this from The Yawpers. Enjoy…!