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Thought for the Day: It's A Wonderful Life; As Little Losses and Restrictions Remind Us

In case you don't already know this, the major difference between a girl's bike and a boy's bike is that a boy's bike has a horizontal bar from the seat stem to the handlebar stem.  Girl's bikes are missing that bar; presumably to accommodate riding in a skirt.  The cross bar, however, allows for lighter/stronger frames.  Girl's bike frames also tend to be smaller, since women are on average smaller than men.  Why all this sudden interest?  Because I rode a Schwinn to work this morning that would be perfect for a 5'4" girl; a loaner from the bike shop while they are fixing my brakes.  I felt like one of those clowns riding a teensy bike around the circus ring for a laugh; except I was riding 9+ miles to get to work.  Oh, yeah... and it fell over when I went to open the door to bike garage because it doesn't have that cross beam to rest against my thigh while I reached for the door.

How did I feel running riding that bike to work this morning?  Amazing!  Great!  Wonderful!  It's amazing, great, and wonderful to be alive!  Nope... I wasn't frustrated at all; just happy to be alive and biking in this glorious weather.  Am I nuts?  Could be, but this is no proof.  By the way, that morning I also found a flat tire on my car when I was on my way to vasikin, so I also had the pleasure of biking to yeshiva this morning.  Yesterday I walked into work (after having taken Tisha b'Av off... no siman bracha, so what's the point) to find that everything that could have gone wrong when I left on Monday afternoon actually did go wrong on Tuesday.  A major project, for which I have the technical responsibility was in serious danger of complete (technical) failure.  No problem; just figuratively rolled up my sleeves and got to work on mitigation and meetings.  Ahh... a pleasure to be alive and walking to meetings!

All this great attitude and pleasure from something I saw on my bike ride to work yesterday morning.  Yesterday, when I still had my own bike, I got about half way to work when the back wheel seized up.  Aargh!  I was really irritated.  I stopped, turn the bike over and found that the brake pads were badly worn and sort of "J" shaped.  The only way to make the bike rideable at all was to complete release them... leaving me with only slightly less badly worn front brakes.  Now I was really frosted... one set of brakes, hands full of grease and dirt... grrr... Not in a good mood at all.  Then I got passed by another biker.  Not usually irritating, but but that point everything irritated me.  I put all my efforts into passing him back; not smart with only a marginally working half braking system, but I was angry so no holds barred.  I passed him alright.  I looked over as I passed and saw...

He didn't have left leg.  He was pedaling with a pretty impressively designed and engineered prosthetic leg for biking.  As it turns out, I have a very impressively designed and engineered leg... but mine is original manufacturers equipment.  It is self-adjusting, self-healing, and works for many, many more things than just biking.  That's how I got my perspective adjusted.

Tuesday was Tisha b'Av; a day of many restrictions, not the least of which is what we are allowed to learn.  I found myself paying particular attention to my davening.  Mush of davening is p'sukim.  Since we are so restricted in what we can learn, I didn't want to waste one precious word of kisvei kodesh.  Like one on the last leg of a journey through the desert with one last canteen of water, I wanted to savor each word and phrase that I was permitted.

Each (ahem) little contrast -- losing a leg, restrictions from learning -- to our normal schedule, jar us and remind us of the myriad extraordinary ordinary pleasures HaShem has given us to graciously; such as walking and learning Torah.

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