December 18th, 2015
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Hey there Resilient Readers!

Today’s post may seem at first to be just a simple story about a bike shop in my hometown of Washington, DC.

But it’s really about so much more.

I want to share this wonderful story with you because it reminds me of the compelling message found in the classic Frank Capra Christmas movie, It’s A Wonderful Life: one person really can make a difference.

Today’s bike story is a real life example of what happens when one person gets involved in their community and the difference they can make for others who are looking to rebuild their lives and also find a new sense of purpose after experiencing a personal crisis.

All of us, especially in the midst of the holiday season, are looking for a place where we can feel emotionally safe and free enough to create and challenge ourselves while perhaps juggling conflicts involving anger, guilt, anxiety or sadness that is accentuated even more by holiday music and decorations.  Tis the season to be jolly is what you may hear playing on the radio or in the grocery store but for many, unfortunately, it is a season of disappointment.

And that’s where the bike shop comes in.

It took a former school principal and a young woman from the neighborhood to see the potential of an old church.  As you will discover when you read the inspirational story by Martin Di Caro, Gearin’ Up Bicycles is a now housed in the old church and it is a place where young people can go about the business of doing serious bicycle repairs and where that work often leads to hope and healing.

“(The Bike Shop) helps me center myself.  It helps me clear my mind.  When I have a hard time or I am not having a good day I come here and just start working on bikes and it clears my mind and makes everything happy again,” said DaiQuan Medley, 18.

This DC bike shop has become a safe haven for young people looking to do something positive with their lives.  While it is possible, though painful, to gain inner strength through adversity, I think you first need to find a place where you can take a break from those troubles so that you can sort through the emotions of what is happening to you.  Whether those troubles are a broken home or running with gangs, the bike shop offers a safe base for hanging out and gaining self-confidence.

It’s a home base of sorts and we all need that kind of place; a place to park our hearts.

A home base can make you feel you are in a zone of emotional security.  Think about it.  When you are with a true friend,  someone who has your back, someone you trust, you know that is unusual and magical. I think that kind of emotional security can sometimes happen when you talk to someone who understands your life experiences because they have gone through them too.  Such as someone who has also lost a loved one.  Someone who has been through a divorce.  Someone who has lost a job.  Someone who has been diagnosed with cancer.

The same things that the people in this story are saying about the bike shop could easily have been said by me or anyone else you know who is trying to rebuild their lives after a personal tragedy or life changing event.  As much as we would like, we can’t change the fact that stressful events happen to us.  It’s part of life.  But we can control how we respond to these events.

We are always better when we work together, relying on others for their support, and it is through our efforts to help each other that we bring others along on the road to resilience.

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