Monday, August 13, 2007
We've had a busy couple months. From exercise to writing sermons to planning a family vacation, to building a business, to most recently a trip to Chicago with my cousins from Holland.
But, a true highlight of the summer was a ride called RAGBRAI--Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. A couple of weeks ago, Monique and I learned that we can strap on a recipe of will, effort, and crazy and do 500 miles on a bicycle...make a boy's butt hurt worse than getting an enema. . . but it was awesome!!! There's a little sump'n for everyone, but you learn to strive and have fun at the same time.
But, enough of that for now. . .one wears bike shorts because they have padding in them and when you spend 8 hours a day on a bicycle you're pretty glad you're wearing pants with diapers. 500 miles of wind strewn weather beaten heaven. It was a magnificent trip. The road often rose up to meet me (HILLS) and the wind was not always at my back, but every town the nearly 20,000 riders came into was unique and the celebration and food and entertainment was always good. At night, there was nothing like a good conversation with the team, a brat and a beer didn't hurt either.
I saw the white sunrise turn gold with hours, felt the cool wind in my face and witnessed magnificent things. There was one guy who did the ride in a big banana suit. . . why? Ummm--I was laughing too hard to care. How 'bout the guy who rode with 10 inch speakers and an IPOD full of Irish Pub Songs? That's just cool.
I lost a little weight and I'm stronger than I was a week previous. I can see a few ripples in my abs and I've got a nice tan going...sweet. But that's a side effect. I learned what teamwork is about, what it means to bend over backwards for someone in need, how to be safe, friendly, and joyful in all things. I'm different than I was 500 miles ago--more confident.
It's a great thing to get up and do something you didn't think you had in you. For 7 days, lock into your pedals, turn them for hours each day, enjoy my diaper pants, some good food and the guy in the banana suit and come on home. . .you'll realize you can do anything.
However, I began to wonder about something during RAGBRAI and rekindled the thought during our recent trip to Chicago. Life is what you make of it and I realized the survival of a species does not depend on cell phones, computers, the best equipment, cars, airplanes and access to the newest thing. Character decides your way of life. Dad used to say "do not do anything to disparage my good name..." and I can do that without high technology. I can do that with my Bride, with the wind, with the mist and with my hands, feet, mouth, with my actions and my words.
We went to the Museum of Science and Technology and there, we came to an exhibit about time, achievement, invention and life in yesteryear. The exhibit included a full street of what Chicago looked like in 1906. It included everything from dim lampposts, a stone road, clothing, little clothing shops, a barber who advertised his mixture of shaving cream, an advertisement for a sewing kit and more. There were no computers, the sewing machines were basic, advertisements were drawn instead of photographed, bicycles were made of iron, gum was not sold in paper packages but in tins...there was more of course. I imagined a stroll through the streets lit by lamps with an old world wisdom written into them. I imagined a Fedora on my head and a walking suit on my body and I wondered...Invention has given us much. Invention has made life a wonderment and taken us into discovery of materials, cures for diseases, and speed on the road. Invention has allowed us to reach the heavens in ways we weren't even dreaming about in 1906. But I wondered something...I couldn't stay where I was last year. It was a difficult year. I had to move into a new place and a new way from last year. I'm different than I was the first time I sat on my new bicycle than I was the day I finished a 477 mile bike ride. And we had to ride a path of effort in life and on a bicycle. Society has done that for centuries. My family wasn't the first to accomplish something. Invention and technology has given us much...but, how much have we lost by being dissastisfied with where we were? How many good names have we disparaged along the way?
By the way...if you want to listen to the sermon I gave a week ago you can do so by going to this link... feed://feeds.feedburner.com/Crossroadscrc and click on "INTEREST PASSION EFFORT TEAM August 5 am service. You'll be able to listen right there.