Under the overpass of life
I am paused for a sip of refreshment from the Swell water bottle I’ve pulled from its cage which is mounted on my bicycle. I have chosen this spot for a water stop because it is nicely shaded under the highway overpass. Here I can shelter from this Florida sun I’m not used to — it is January, after all. Overhead, gigantic cement girders support a six lane highway. I can hear the traffic whizzing by… at considerably more-than-highway speed.
No, I do not lament the pace of life that is passing me by, ever at breakneck speed. Rather, I am perfectly satisfied to pause and sip in this shade as the other cyclists pedal by. I acknowledge some with a nod. Others pass without even a glance. A few alert me that they’re coming. “On your left,” they say. And they are for a fleeting moment and then grow smaller and smaller in the distance.
Suddenly alone with my thoughts, I let my eyes travel upward to the giant grey girders over my head, silent and strong but massive. For a very split second, I imagine what might happen if they came crashing down. But I dismiss this thought quickly. I am confident that a capable architect, an accurate building engineer and a diligent construction crew erected this structure. Certainly, all necessary precautions have been taken and the required inspections have been made to guarantee its structural soundness and assure safety.
Standing here alone astraddle my bicycle saddle, a cycling helmet the only form of protection I have, I suddenly realize I’ve put a lot of trust in a whole host of humans I’ve never met.
In this moment, something inclines me to look upward and past the girders.
When I do, the dazzling, impossibly-azure sky peeks from beyond the bridge’s span and compels my gaze. “Why,” it seems to say, “if you trust these chunks of cement to protect you, why do you not trust me?” The voice-that’s-not-a-voice goes on. “I am the architect of all that is, the designer of all that will be, the builder of all that is becoming. Why, if you trust the work of human hands, do you not trust me?”
The Lord of Universe now has my full attention.
Why don’t I trust the Lord of the sky to protect me as I go along my way?
When I look around at all that has been made, why don’t I trust?
When I survey all that has been given, why don’t I trust?
When I recall the many instances from which I have been rescued, why don’t I trust?
In that moment I turn my eyes again to the ghostly white of the cement girders, ominous in their row-by-row alignment overhead. I notice the rumble of traffic which now echoes in thunderous tones on all sides. I permit the thought which had been holding itself back: if I heard the structure of this bridge crack and start to give way, would I be able to extricate myself in time? Could I dive to safety? What about the other cyclists? What of the unsuspecting motorists?
No, I decide, I could not save myself. No, we could not save ourselves.
Slowly, I take a final swig from my Swell, carefully screw on its top and slide it back into its plastic cage. Looking to left and to right, I ease my bicycle back onto the trail and propel myself into an easy rhythm.
I probably won’t stop here on my return trip. I’ll pause in the shade of a nearby tree, greened by the sunny days and watered by the summer rains. And I’ll listen.
I Am not A.I.
A.I., you and I are different.
the rays of the sun warming my face,
the chill of the cold deep in my bones,
the pressure of your hand holding mine
and mine, resting in yours.
the jitters when test scores are posted,
the wrenching when news isn’t good,
the twang when I know I really shouldn’t
and the tap when I know I really should.
God didn’t create me artificially.
God created me realistically:
Do I dare feel?
Am I willing?
Not just to touch the hand
that reaches out,
but to take it?
there are places I’d rather not go.
I still feel them;
I still remember them;
I am not safe there.
You are safe everywhere.
not bothered by sensation,
not saddled with emotion,
not addled by fear or foreboding.
Fear is a place only humans go,
only humans can go,
The Lord of life takes us there…
and brings us through.
“The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28)
A.I. was made for man, not man for A.I.
So the Son of Man is Lord even of the A.I.
The temptation to look is hard to resist
For some reason, this feels especially true today …
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
as it is in Heaven.
Give us, this day,
Our daily bread.
Forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive
those who have trespassed
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
is the Kingdom,
and the Power,
and the Glory.