After several days cranking out long, hot miles, this morning came too early–thanks in part to some noisy neighbors. An extra roll in the sack resulted in a 9:00 am departure, with the sun already amped up to challenge our progress. Our late start lead to a 54-mile day; the early ending coupled with the late start meant fewer miles and more interest in catching up on rest. Rest is good! We hope to have more for tomorrow.
Nevertheless, today introduced us to North Carolina. We zig-zagged north and east to US 17, and then crossed the border on Route 179. Traffic was brisk in both states, particularly so as we approached the beach region. Our route traveled north of the Myrtle Beach area, so we were spared some of that traffic. However, there was no shortage of activity when we touched down at Sunset Beach just over the border.
A long bridge connected the major portion of the community with the mainland. Separating the two was a narrow stretch of water and wetlands, with jet skiiers revving and reveling with their passion. A satisfying lunch, complete with hushpuppies, overlooking the bridge provided sufficient fuel to power us to Shallotte.
Debbie experienced an object lesson on today’s trip. She mentioned her hands have been going numb. I’ve had some similar issues. We are well acquainted with this phenomenon from our 2010 cross-country trek. The pressure of leaning on your hands for six or seven hours a day puts the hand in a position it was not designed to be in. There are only so many hand positions we can muster on these handlebars. And some of them do not offer the best of control when cycling through heavily trafficked areas. Add in the tension of negotiating traffic, and the tendency is to tighten up. This was Debbie’s dilemma. It occurred to her that, to be most effective in her cycling, she needed to relax her hands. Hanging on too tightly was counterproductive.
The same can be true with life. When we hang on too tightly to possessions, people, and passions, blessings can sometimes turn into curses. Clinging to possessions can make us lose sight of the more important things in life. Smothering people can push them away. And being obsessive with what we truly enjoy can make the exciting become repetitive and boring. Even holding on too tightly to one’s occupation can prevent growth and blessings that God is just waiting to unfold. As you can see, we have a lot of time on our hands to think when we bicycle. And when that time leads to learning some life lessons, we consider it a bonus.