Hi all, I am in Muscatine Iowa for the day taking a rest day. Mundane things to do for this day. Eat, shop a little and mail some things back to myself that I didn’t need. Making changes and adjustments to the trailer and repacking everything. Catching up on the trip I have entered my fifth state (if you consider Ontario); I have been through Ontario, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and now into Iowa. My body is starting to adjust slowly to the eight hour days every day in the saddle. I have had a blast. I will write separately about Wenona because it is a gem in itself. I will go back to that town some day! I have completed 1337 kilometres (835 miles) and tomorrow the 120K will put me roughly half way to Colorado Springs. That gives me three weeks to get the next half. I have been pressing hard to get a little ahead and now have left room for some wandering and less stressful days. More on that later.
As you ride you get philosophical. I listen to a lot of books on tape (have teed up the entire Lee Child Jack Reacher series for the journey) and podcasts. I delve into music when I need some pumped up go hard reality like yesterday afternoon. I am a sight I am sure as I cycle along singing to myself. The cows and horses give me odd looks.
One statement in a podcast has wormed it’s way into me over the last couple days and keeps recycling itself a little deeper into my heart. It is a short statement by Rob Bell on the Robcast. He said and vexed me; ‘everything you already have, is everything you really need.’ Sigh…
I have been musing a lot on fear and complacency and the catharsis of just taking off for a long period of time and doing something crazy like just ride your bike for days on end for long periods of time. In order to get where I am I have had to conquer a lot of fears. Those who know me will either chuckle or scratch their heads wondering that I even have fears. One small situation from yesterday will let you know a little about my personality relating to fear (Joy must be quiet here).
I pulled up into a small town at a general store/gas station early in the afternoon in the 95 degree heat for a drink break. I pulled my bike up the ramp on the sidewalk leading into the store and parked my bike by the ‘free air’ compressor (I remember those vaguely in Canada before we started charging for everything from air to bags at the bleeping stores). Some fellow came out (older with gun racks) with his woman (I never know marital status anymore) and remarked that I parked on the handicapped ramp. I yelled back as he got into the truck. ‘Hey, I can move my bike if someone drives through the cornfield on their wheelchair to get up here,’ and ‘did you notice the store has both ends blocked off with propane tanks and milk cartons?’ He started the truck and pulled alongside and said; ‘that is the handicapped ramp for wheelchairs,’ I asked him if he had ever seen a wheelchair at this store in his entire life? He raspberried me and started to drive away. I walked after his truck yelling at him and he took off like the crazy guy on the bike was going to come after him. Needless to say this little vignette highlights my personality (quit laughing Joy). I don’t take poop and this often has been a problem in my corporate life and my church life. Both worlds revolve around people being nice and not speaking up. Um, this isn’t me! My manager of the last year hired me when her reputation is that she doesn’t like people who challenge her. Did she really read my resume? Methinkst not…
So, last November I had a choice. My work life sucked and I knew things were wrong. I had been working through much with my counsellor KS and it was decision time in so many venues in my life (church and work). So, I made a decision it was time to fight the fear and tackle the dragon. I started putting in HR complaints against my boss. I knew when I did the first one what the end would be. It was the end of my corporate career. Six HR complaints and numerous meetings and grievances and the company let me go. It was inevitable in the situation. I worked for a boss who has driven many people from her department and the company, yet the company continues to back her show. This might sound racist and I am sorry but the middle aged white guy is a much easier target in the situation and I fit the demographic. I wasn’t going to take it anymore and hence the HR show. I had to lay my fear of the future aside and tackle a beast in order to move forward in my life.
So, this bike trip is about catharsis. Every mile I ride I move further from what I was moving towards what I want to be. I don’t want to be an IT manager extraordinaire anymore. I want to be a corporate trainer, or a writer. I want to rewrite my book and go a new direction and that could never happen as long as I allowed the fear to cripple me into staying where I was and not moving forward. I could quote many scriptures here but Rob Bell summed it up; ‘everything you already have, is everything you really need.’ I needed to believe that in the last 18 months as God worked stuff through me to free me up to something new in my life. The old things have passed away and catharsis and metamorphosis take a fight sometimes. I am after all a fighter, but I needed to be willing to let go of the comfortable and easy to move into that realm.
What is your own fight today? Is fear of the unknown and what that fight might birth keeping you complacent and in the same place? I can never know why you are where you are, or what the best move forward is but I can reassure you it isn’t complacency. Some of the best things in your life will be birthed in abject terror and concern if it is the right move. For Joy and I this has been true. We are adventurers the two of us. We have moved across the continent twice, moved houses more than a dozen times, worked jobs that are stressful and hard and stayed together for some 34+ years and counting. That hasn’t been without some fighting to get where we are.