I’ve wrestled this week with the stark contrast between the warmth and beauty of this world and its cold cruelty. On Saturday I received the horrible news from my brother that his friend and former roommate, Cody Johnson, was struck by a drunk driver while biking home Friday night. He was taken to the hospital and died soon after.
My brother told me the news just after I finished the 55 mile Tour de Gruene bike ride around New Braunfels, TX. (If you are tracking my blog closely you may note that I cut back my mileage from 65 miles. The 55 miler just started later and I wanted more sleep!) The ride was beautiful. The scenery along the Guadalupe River was just breathtaking. The weather was perfect and the hilly course was challenging. I made some new friends and finished the ride in just under 3 ½ hours.
After I got off the phone with my brother it was as if the sunny Texas sky really did get darker. My heart, soaring from the exhilaration of what I’d accomplished, plummeted to the ground. Here I was, celebrating my love for cycling and only hours before a young man died senselessly while enjoying the very same activity.
I wish I were a poet and I could craft eloquent and poignant prose to honor Cody’s memory. But, I’m at a loss for words. All I can think of is that it really sucks. It sucks that Cody lost his life just trying to get home. It sucks that this afternoon my little brother and his friends are in Jefferson, TX to say their goodbyes to a 27-year-old man who will now be laid to rest next to his father. It sucks that there are internet trolls out there who hide behind their computer screens and blame the cyclist for daring to ride the streets at night instead of the person who chose to drink and drive. It sucks that there is yet another ghost bike adorning the roadside in Austin and that this kind of tragedy could happen to anyone of us.
I have said goodbye to many friends who have had their life cut short by a senseless act. It never gets easier. Today I pray for comfort for Cody’s loved ones. And as for Cody, I pray that he is right now riding his bike somewhere without a care in this world. I pray he’s in a place without drunk or reckless drivers, or even flat tires. I pray he’s peddling freely, soaking in the sunshine, with miles and miles of road ahead. Rest in peace, Cody.