I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about love and kindness lately. I’m a Christian and was raised with a lot of cerebral emphasis on doctrine and knowledge. Love wasn’t a bad word, but it was kind of “feely” and didn’t get tossed around a lot. For the past five years though, I’ve been reading a lot about love and grace, and trying to get a picture of who God really is. I’ve been feeling rather proud of my newfound understanding…until my son came home the other day.
An Accident Waiting to Happen
My son. He’s 15. John’s a really good kid, though not overly tuned in to such niceties as remembering birthdays or telling his folks, “I love you.” He goes to church, but it’s not high on the week’s priorities. He’s got two teen friends that factor into this story too. Mike is Dennis the Menace reincarnated. The boy is an accident waiting to happen, and he constantly struggles with his temper. There’s some faith-based activity in his past, but not much. The other teen, Alex, ooo’s and ahhh’s over girls, and worries about whether he’ll make it through high school. His only reference to God is likely in exclamatory sentences.
The one thing they bond over is BMX bike riding. Those guys are at the concrete park daily practicing their moves. They go early. They stay late. They miss meals to ride. Well, okay, not many meals. They work jobs and save all their money for bike parts — it’s expensive! Biking is nearly all they talk about too. And this is where my kid and his friends punched me right in the heart this summer.
John came home from the park and offhandedly told me about a project the three have cooked up: They’re going to build a BMX bike for a younger kid at the skatepark. There’s a 10-year-old boy who rides there regularly, but he can’t afford a trick bike. Says John, “He’s really good, and he’s a nice kid, but he’s got lousy Walmart bike.” (Apparently this is the kiss of death amongst BMXers.)
So, what can these three boys do but combine their own meager resources for a needed gift? Yes, John has an expensive but broken frame, Mike has handlebars and assorted parts, and Alex has a welder to fix the frame. I choose not to focus on the welding aspect too much. LOL. They think they can scare up decent tires from somewhere… Three teenage boys — who have not read numerous books nor engaged in philosophical dialogue nor spent much time being concerned about love and kindness — put their heads together and decided to build a bike for a younger boy in need.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8, NIV).
Really proud of these boys. I might put down my book and see if the old man next door needs any help today.
Sheila Elwin writes from Montana.© 2017 - 2021 When People Are Kind. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.