“On Your Left!”

BVT Family and Friends,

On my most recent bike ride, I was pedaling down a sidewalk next to a busy street. Usually, I ride on the street or along larger sidewalks, but on this particular stretch of sidewalk, it was rather narrow and there was only room for one person. Up a head of me was a woman walking. We were both headed in the same direction, but of course with me on a bike and her on foot, I was traveling at a faster speed.

As I approached her, I calmly said “on your left.” Waiting for her to move and realizing she didn’t hear me, I tried again. “On your left!” I said in a raised and hurried voice. Still nothing. Coming up literally right behind her, “ON YOUR LEFT” I finally shouted…but still nothing. I was within inches of her and was asking her to move as loud as I could without potentially coming across as being verbally inappropriate…but still nothing. She continued on her same course with no way for me to go around her safely on the sidewalk.

Four or five times I let her know I was “on her left”, but she never changed her course of direction. Finally, having no other choice, I steered my bike into the grass so that I could pass. As I did, I realized she had earbuds in her ears, which is why she couldn’t hear me. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time of my attempts to have her move.

As I passed by her, I gave her a friendly smile and a nod and kept on moving.  But never did she know I was within inches of her. And regardless of me nearly running into her and yelling that I was ‘on her left’ had no impact on her. After roughing it in the grass for a few seconds, I got back onto the sidewalk and continued my journey.

Bike rides are good for many things…endurance training, strength training, focus, reflection, clarity of mind, among others.

How often do we go through life trying to stay on the “straight and narrow” but then someone gets in our way of accomplishing something, or simply slows us down? We get mad or upset and despite our attempts, they don’t change their course and therefore, we have to adjust our own. And while it’s inconvenient and frustrating, we do so and move on.

There’s a problem with that mindset. You see, as I said earlier…I didn’t see the earbuds in the woman’s ears originally; I was simply focused on trying to get her to move out of my way. Of course there were no eyes in the back of her head and she couldn’t hear me, despite my attempts to get her attention. She wasn’t wrong for not moving over. For all I know, she was listening to an audiobook on being the best version of herself, or a book on how to help her struggling children overcome an obstacle, or a book on overcoming addiction.  I don’t know what she was going through. Perhaps nothing at all.

So what’s my point? In a day where we are rushing around to fulfill accomplishments – to get to the next place, to make the next dollar, to achieve the next objective – let’s not allow our frustrations or inconveniences get in the way of the main calling that we have as believers…taking care of each other. As Jesus clearly instructs us in John 21:16, to “take care of [His] sheep”… that is our calling.

To remember that we are all made in the image of God and just like you and me, your enemy is someone’s son or daughter, mother or father, sister or brother. And despite whatever flaws they have, they are loved by their Creator.

As we navigate through a very difficult season of life, may we never go so fast that we knock someone over in our attempts to achieve the next thing. And may we always remember that we don’t know what our fellow brother or sister is struggling with or going through. Perhaps you were put in their path for a reason. To hold them up instead of knocking them down. To be the smile they haven’t seen in days.

You hold more power than you realize. My prayer for all of us this month, is that we use that power for good. And when times get tough, when someone is in your path, instead of running into them, change your course/perspective, give them a smile and some encouragement, and keep on moving. Be the reason someone succeeds.

And always remember, you can do hard things.

Until next time,


Steven Campbell
Executive Director