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from Jerry Stocking

"I Love You!"


I was riding my bike down the Silver Comet Trail that winds from Atlanta to the Alabama State Line. I had done over fifty miles that hot Saturday and was worn out.


Coming the other way on the ten foot wide blacktop trail was a, perhaps, fifty-five year old guy in biker brights and a bike to match. We were riding fast in opposite directions. As our rides intersected he very clearly said "I love you."


It felt great. I felt great.


The physical difficulty of the ride melted away for the next few miles. He loved me.


His love fulfilled me. He was my Dad loving me, and saying it. He was every man. Like most guys I have directed affections to women and competition and conversation and pal-ship to men.


In those three words, uttered by a stranger, something changed, the sleeper awakened.


His words continued to wash over me for the next couple of miles. And then I questioned his love.



"Why" is the giant killer. It is the word, along with "no" that defines the terrible twos, too many sexual encounters and all immaturity.


Why had he said "I love you."


Was he so perceptive that he knew what I needed to hear and so honest, and caring that he just said it?


Wow. Sign me up to live in that world where that happens.


My second explanation took the wind out of my riding and new love.


What if he was on his cell phone saying "I love you." to someone else.


He and I overlapped for several seconds of my three and a half hour bike ride. The precision of his expression of love couldn't be an accident. If he didn't love me then the universe did, I reasoned. It made sure that I heard those words when I needed them. And having the universe love me was a good thing and answered Einstein's big question "Is this a friendly universe?" with a definitive "yes."


Never before has a perfect stranger said "I love you" to me or in my general direction or in ear shot just when I needed it.


I didn't really need to know why.


Accepting Love


Perhaps he had received the news that he has only days to live and was telling everyone he loves them. Oddly, that made sense to me. But none of us knows how long we will live so perhaps we all ought to be saying "I love you" much more often.


I wasn't able to make sense of a "perfect" stranger saying "I love you" to me. So I didn't. I just felt loved. And why shouldn't a guy I have never met before love me. And why shouldn't I love the next guy who rode past me. I tried to say "I love you" to the next guy who rode by: I couldn't.


It was easier to feel love for a stranger than to express that love in words.


I rode seventy miles that day. But my journey continues. He loves me. I love him too. I am curious how soon I will be able to give voice to my deep, internal love.


Since his daring expression I have become aware of how much I have in common with other men. Perhaps it is time to focus attention on our similarities and express them.


Competitions End


While competition will bring men together it will only bring them so close. On my seventy mile ride I was passed three times by someone going the same direction I was. I pedal fast, or at least as hard as I am able.


Much of my grown up(?) interaction with men has been of the competitive sort ranging from mild, verbal intelligence battles, to bike or foot sprints or on the job sales quota wars.


Of the three guys who passed me one I locked on to his back tire and ended up passing one of them. Another, a young/tall kid decked out as a biker reached his end point and passed me on his route back, waved and nodded as he acknowledged wonderfully his effort and mine. The third was a phantom without a helmet on an older steel bike. He seemed other worldly.


So there were three options: compete, as with the first guy, acknowledge that we are in the same race on the same team, as with the second guy or be oblivious as with the third guy.


Luckily, I can feel "I love you" for all three. Now I will practice saying "I love you." I will start alone and out loud, to myself or the clouds or the trees or my next thought. After a while, I imagine I will be able to say it, and mean it, to a random guy who needs to hear: "I love you."

Edited by cat
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There is also an reply to "I love you" : "I accept it, thank you!!"

Love can be given so free so abudant one need welcome and allow it.

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A fine quote Cat,


Imagine the soul of the Earth that loves us even after all the harm we have done her!



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