Earbuds in Review

by DanWolgemuth on June 17, 2011

As a courtesy to others, and as a means of protecting myself, I alert an individual that I am approaching on my bicycle when I am about to pass a walker or runner on my regular cycling route. What has become an overwhelming reality in this situation is that when people walk or run alone they have earbuds in their ears; which, of course, makes my warning ineffective.

I’ve also observed that when people walk in groups… two, three or more, they rarely, if ever, are connected to an iPod with earbuds. While it’s always a little more interesting to approach a group, given the additional individuals that need to comply with my announcement, my warning is at least heard.

Early this week as I rode “my loop” it occurred to me that the pattern I just described is often true in life. When we go solo, when we opt to individualize our journey, we often tune out the warning signs around us. Our self-absorption prevents us from hearing about impending danger… we march on oblivious to potential risks.

When we surround ourselves with others who care for us and who value the things that we esteem, then the earplugs are out. We hear the warnings, we listen; but a solo lifestyle is another story.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” ~ Hebrews 10:24, 25 (ESV)

Call it accountability, or community, or support, or church… but realize the danger that exists without it, and the power that is available with it.

One more observation of this phenomena… as the individual that is proclaiming the warning, I’ve begun to discover my tendency to stop announcing my approach to single individuals. My failure to “break through” has produced a resignation to failure. A history of rejection has created a pattern of neglect.

Faithfulness trumps predictable outcomes. We are instructed to do what’s right… regardless. To share the Good News, even if, even when, earbuds or not.

Community and consistency… all from a simple 15-mile ride.

God is such a good teacher!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Denny Howard June 18, 2011 at 3:11 PM

Dan, Your Fragments on ‘calling your position” while biking made me smile. Biking is one of the few physical things left that I can enjoy with a Parkinsonian condition. So all my energy is focused on this being a main hobby. Being a former marathoner I always appreciated the bicyclist who called their position. I have had the same temptation to give up on calling my position with solitary walkers/joggers and try to navigate it on my own. What a lesson about life. “Two are better than one, for if one falls, pity the man who has no one to pick him up. A cord of three strands are not easily broken.”

Thanks for the reminder that is is always good to do the right thing, even when no one is paying attention. Today, it might be the failure to “call out my position” on the river greenway. Tomorrow it may be something more substantial.

Appreciate the thought provoking Fragments.

Denny Howard


DanWolgemuth June 24, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Thanks, Denny, for your kind comments about this article. Glad you enjoy cycling and can relate to my experiences. It’s therapy for me and I pedal as often as my schedule allows.

Wishing you God’s best!


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