October 12, 2014, Day 102 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. A beautiful day, a visit to a church, and a short ride of 25 miles to a waiting motel room would bring us to a couple of rest days. We’d catch up on some loose ends, make some more pitches in support of TheHopeLine, and catapult into the final week or so of our tour and our arrival at the Atlantic Ocean.
However, we don’t get to write the script to our adventures, or to life for that matter. A few miles out of Troy, Pennsylvania, today, Debbie took a spill on her bicycle and chipped the radius bone near her elbow. When I looked up from a few hundred feet behind her to see her tumble, I wasn’t sure what had happened. Knowing Debbie, I expected her to pull herself up and continue on. She did the first part, but she knew a bone had been broken. And, naturally, the uncertainty of what that might mean for the rest of our trip immediately tugged at her emotions, and at mine.
Falls like this are common in bicycling. It could have happened anywhere, at any time, and it could have happened to me. Why it happened now, just a few hundred miles from the “finish line,” only God knows.
We pulled ourselves aside to regroup. When she felt extreme pain when trying to flex her arm, we were both concerned about her ability to ride for help. Soon, a vehicle came and a woman asked if we needed some help. Debbie didn’t hesitate with her response. “Yes!”
What was about to unfold would be among the most moving acts of kindness and understanding we’ve received in all of our miles of bicycle touring. Our Good Samaritans were about to dramatically change the complexion of what would be the final day of bicycling on TheHopeLine Tour.
As we stood by stunned at what had happened, our Good Samaritan swat team of three mobilized, bringing our would-be crash landing to an ever-so-gentle transition back to ordinary life. They operated with the speed and efficiency of a skilled bike mechanic, the tenacity of Kentucky dogs in pursuit of bicycles, and the grace of dedicated Christ-followers. At day’s end, Debbie and I had to enumerate the incredible events in order to take it all in. Debbie will elaborate on the care and kindness of today’s angels and the awesome blessings we experienced in Part II. Later, we’ll fill in the as-yet-unreported highlights that led up to our final day of cycling. However, we wanted to share this latest news as soon as possible, because we know and appreciate that people are praying for us.
The past week or so, we’ve found ourselves cycling in the land of paradox, where we wanted to bring this long tour to a triumphant and fulfilling end, yet never wanting the experience itself to end. How can you wish away brand new days in new places with new faces, feeling the ever present touch of God’s hand on your journey? Yet, the physical and mental demands to be “on your game” every waking hour—and too many waking hours to contend with—take their toll. It’s been an intense tour, which augments both the reward and the challenge. We’ve loved it.
We couldn’t have picked a finer day to end our tour, nor finer people to end it with. When we walked out of the hospital emergency room with our fate sealed in the cast upon Debbie’s right arm, the beauty of the sun casting its spotlight on thousands of multi-colored trees on the Pennsylvania hills reminded us that all is still well. And with an overflow of love and care from our guardian angels, who had arrived on the scene too soon for the intended finale yet right on time, we felt the gentleness of God’s provision setting us at rest. This is a day we will never forget.
Debbie is feeling fine and her arm will heal in time. And despite the obvious disappointment at our abrupt end and not reaching our intended destination, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for the phenomenal experiences we’ve been privileged to share on TheHopeLine Tour. It has been a time of great blessing and, although the cycling has ended, the fundraising need not end. We are still far from our goal of raising $100,000 for TheHopeLine. If you have not yet pledged your support to TheHopeLine, won’t you please consider doing so now? Here’s a webpage that explains why we think it’s a good investment in the lives of young people. You can pledge online using this pledge form.
If you know others who would find it a blessing to donate to this worthy cause, please share this post with them today. Thank you.
Click here for Part II and Debbie’s perspective.