“We need a Church capable of walking at people’s side, of doing more than simply listening to them; a Church which accompanies them on their journey.”

Pope Francis

In the early weeks of the pandemic, we cancelled our gym membership. I rejoiced at having a legitimate reason not to rise at 5:30am. My wife began searching for the best alternative. After a few intense negotiations, we put ourselves on a very long and expensive waiting list for a Peloton. I was skeptical and predicted that the bike would turn into a glorified hanger for clothes and toys. I could not imagine that having an instructor yell at me anonymously would be worth the money. After a few months, Tricia had hit her 100th ride and received a tee-shirt welcoming her to the "Century Club," while I was about 50% of the way through setting up my profile. As I took my first few rides, strangers would "high five" me and I would hear the instructors acknowledge the various milestones of others. "Way to go SpinDiesel on 700 rides!" or "Wow 1,000 Pedal2daMetal" (the usernames themselves were enough entertainment for me). Slowly but steadily I climbed toward 100 rides. I typically don’t do the live rides because dragging myself onto the bike is effort enough without having to figure out a schedule, but as I inched closer to Peloton glory, Tricia asked me what my plans were for my 100th ride. I shrugged it off to her, but secretly began to think about the week and when my schedule would align with a live ride where DCell157 could get a shout out and high fives from hundreds of perfect strangers. The only option that would work was a 6am, 45-minute, high intensity ride (I tend to be more of a 15-minute, beach cruiser kind of guy). I set my alarm and pedaled faster and harder (and longer) than I ever have before only to hear "Willpedal4tacos" and "DonutKillmyride" claim all the glory for hitting many, many more rides than me.

As I collapsed off the bike in a puddle of sweat, I was shocked at the lengths I went simply to hear someone yell out my username. It was probably my best work out on the godforsaken machine. I couldn’t help but think how many other people who I lead or love, or who I don’t even know, are desperate, just like me, to be acknowledged, to be called by name, to be known for their effort. While the Peloton doesn’t lead users to anything other than a better waistline, our accompaniment of others can lead people to the ultimate healthy living – a life in Christ. We know the Lord formed each of us uniquely. But how do I help others see that by the way I see them? If the Lord only looks for our faithfulness, why am I always looking for so much more in others? This week as we walk alongside others in our life, who can we call out and affirm for their effort? Who can we let know that they are known by us and known by the Lord? Oh, and if you know "Willpedal4tacos," give him or her a high five from me.

by Daniel Cellucci

September 07, 2021

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