September 27-28, Days 87-88 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
Within 24 hours, lives can change. They can actually change in a second, but that was not the case with me this weekend. On Saturday, I started downhill, literally. Friday night, we stayed in Maysville, Kentucky and the only room available was on the second floor. There was no elevator, so we grimaced at the thought of carrying our bikes upstairs. Tim handled mine by himself, but it took both of us to carry his upstairs. So on Saturday morning, I thought I could carry mine downstairs as easily as he brought it up.
While he was checking out, I started to roll my bike down the backstairs. I must have woken up anyone who was sleeping with the loud crash against the wall near the landing halfway down the stairs. I cut my leg and bruised my ego, realizing that I am not as strong as I used to be (and apparently not as smart either).
Once I cleaned up my bleeding leg and headed to the grocery store, I realized, this is a GORGEOUS day and I tried to correct my foul mood and my embarrassment at doing such a stupid thing. I asked Tim, “How many really dumb things have I done on this trip?” And he said, “I haven’t been counting.” Now that is a kind response. Not keeping track of one another’s wrongs is one of the keys to a loving relationship.
As the day progressed, I was feeling sorry for myself and I was becoming sick of the scenery around me. How many corn and soybean fields can one see in America and still appreciate them? I was also getting sick and tired of going to the bathroom, with no bathroom in sight! Dodging behind a tree or in bushes, trying to time it without a car whipping by, is more challenging than you might think. I always get nervous when people down the road say something along this line, “We saw you back there on the road….” I always want to ask them, “Did you see me with my bike shorts up or down?” Luckily, few people see us more than once on this trip.
Tim knew I was having a hard time, and kept on trying to encourage me, but I was too down to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I forget how difficult bicycle touring is. The majority of long-distance riders we see are male. Not too many women want to endure this physical endeavor.
Tomorrow would be a better day. I remember someone saying once,” Don’t quit until the miracle happens.” On Saturday, I felt that it would be a miracle if we finished this bicycle tour.
Sunday Morning Resurrection
On Saturday night, on our way to our hotel in Milford, Ohio, we noticed Grace Baptist Church. Sunday school was at 10 a.m. and the service was at 11. We were determined to make it after such a difficult Saturday.
Pastor Tim greeted us at the door and invited us to roll our bikes right into an unused classroom. Tim and I were escorted into separate Bible studies. I sat in with a group of five wonderful women. As soon as I sat down, my mood brightened from the day before, and I shared my passion for TheHopeLine with them. They listened intently and asked questions that made me proud of the work Tim and I are doing.
Encouragement is a powerful antidote for depression. Not only was my spirit lifted being with these women, I wanted to help them with their Lil Bears of Grace ministry that they so lovingly shared. They make stuffed bears out of polar fleece fabric and give them to the children at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital when a child is admitted. Once I get home to Massachusetts, I will have a bear waiting for me along with the pattern to make one so I can sew some bears and brighten some children’s’ lives in Massachusetts as well.
I left that group of women with a whole new perspective and a much bigger heart than I had yesterday. God never ceases to amaze me. One of the women in the group had been through a few health scares with her husband and learned from the Lord this great truth: “It is in the hardest times of our lives that we have a FRONT ROW SEAT to watch God do something AMAZING!” I can say that has certainly been true throughout our entire bike trip. God does something amazing each and every day. To me, that is what hope is all about. Knowing that God is going to do something amazing each and every day, if we lift up our eyes and focus on Him.