Outdoor cycling season is right around the corner. In fact, I was able to log some outdoors miles this past weekend – in short, a much welcomed change of scenery!
It reminded me of a prior cycling experience. I recall the moment as if it happened yesterday. It was an overwhelmingly hot July day in the summer of 2013.
An impromptu invitation was extended to me as our group of cyclists neared the end of a four day, 340 mile bicycle trip which originated near Pittsburgh and culminated near Washington, DC.
After logging mileage totals of 103 miles on Thursday, 88 miles on Friday, and 89 miles on Saturday we anticipated a relatively easy 60 mile ride on Sunday to complete our four-day goal.
Up to this point of our adventure we endured many environmental, physical, and mental obstacles.
We spent long hours in the saddle each day, made our way around the aftermath of thunderstorms, incurred flat tires, and withstood less-than-desirable conditions throughout. Each moment took its collective toll on our physical stamina as well as depleted our emotional tanks.
In our minds Sunday was to be a piece of cake, relatively smooth sailing. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
With temperatures soaring in the high 90’s and the humidity levels making it feel much hotter, we met our match on the final leg of our journey.
Water supplies were archaic and the ill-conceived “ambiance” of the C&O Towpath left very little in the way of modern day conveniences or places to rest and replenish.
As we neared Georgetown the end of the trail was finally within our reach with approximately three miles remaining to the finish line.
A luxury was afforded to us – we actually got to ride on a paved surface instead of the “path from the abyss” which we had endured for the prior 180 miles.
The invitation extended to me by my friend, Jim, caught me off-guard. Jim deferred to me as the senior member of our group and invited me to lead our group of five, pedaling buddies to our final destination – the end of the trail.
Raw emotions overwhelmed me as tears erupted from an unknown, deep place within as small, watery tributaries descended my face.
I sincerely appreciated this unexpected honor.
For the next minute or two, it was actually hard to see where I was going as the tears stung my eyes and blurred my vision as we collectively pedaled toward our final destination.
There are times when we are asked to do things which are way out of our comfort zone.
Although we had planned for this trip for months and did our best to prepare for it, there were things which occurred for which we were not prepared. The unexpected is bound to show its face sooner or later.
In retrospect, there was one thing which brought us to our desired conclusion.
We committed to the trip and had our eye on the prize of not only starting, but finishing something which all of us at one time or another over the four days perhaps did not think possible.
Life will throw us curves, it’s a given.
It’s how we respond to the off pace and unexpected pitches which will determine whether we press forward or shrink back.
The success of our trip hinged on knowing when to splice in a brief or extended rest, to refuel our physical and emotional tanks, and to keep going.
Life is a similar in so many ways.
There are times when one needs to rest or step back to then move forward.
Although this does not rank up there with a health setback or the loss of a loved one or any other of a myriad of life’s curve balls, I had one thrown to me since I last posted on this blog.
It’s been nearly six months since I last visited with you here.
I did not plan a hiatus, but a hiatus was essentially dropped on my doorstep unannounced.
No, I do not have terminal whooping cough nor am I checking out of the human race.
At first I felt guilty for suspending what I have come to love doing. It was a nagging thought and feeling for the first few weeks.
It irked me!
I wanted to write, but lacked the time and energy to do so.
The latent effect of much transition in our lives over the past three years basically caught up with me. Although most of the transition is behind us, there still are lingering effects.
Without getting overly spiritual, God called a much needed time out on my behalf. I simply needed a break and I felt the need to comply with the direction I was sensing.
There were times I wanted to throw in the towel as the desire to do anything came and went, often.
I am not a quitter, but there were times I felt like quitting – a lot.
I will be the first to tell you, I did not like it.
I doubted why I wanted to write in the first place. My desire is to make a difference, no matter how small.
Is there something you are involved with or doing where getting to the proverbial finish line seems to elude your grasp?
Do you feel like giving up?
Has Quitting been personified and seems like your new BFF?
Has the phrase, “What’s the use?” been deposited in your sub-conscious and is growing like an unwanted weed?
Can I offer some encouragement to you?
In the words of the familiar poem by Edgar A. Guest, rest if you must but don’t you quit!
It you need a break, by all means take one.
If the respite is longer than you planned, it’s OK – life will not cease to exist as you know it.
The secret sauce is this.
Understand what you have committed to and keep your eye on the prize of not only starting but finishing what you desire or are meant to do.
God has your best interest at heart. Allow Him to direct the times and seasons of your existence, even if it means taking an intended or unannounced break.
Listen to what is posed below:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 from The Message Bible
Go fly a kite.
Sit by a stream and do nothing.
Take a nap.
Get caught up in a song.
Whatever it is which will top your tank off, do it!
Life will not change if you rest toward your finish line.
It will allow you to put things into perspective for the long haul.
I encourage you to do yourself a favor and rest, recuperate, stay focused, keep going, and above all do not quit.
In closing, check out this word of encouragement:
“Let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.” Philippians 3:14-16 – from The Message Bible
Thanks for sharing this journey with me. You are much appreciated than words can express.
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