Monday started in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, at the base of Bridge of the Gods. After paying our $.50/bike toll to cross the bridge, we entered Washington, the final state along our journey. It’s the next to the last day, and it was the hardest: 103 miles and 10,090 vertical feet of climbing!
One might ask why we saved the hardest day until the end, and the honest answer is its just where our journey took us. We enjoyed the beauty of Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the occasional sighting of Mount St. Helens in between the clouds. While it was beautiful in many ways, we had to “earn” the views through a lot of hard work (“climbing”).
This idea that hard work pays off is a key ideology in Denver Rescue Mission’s long-term work with men, women and families struggling with poverty, addictions and homelessness. While some individuals simply need secure housing, many have long journeys ahead of them as they build stability in their lives and work toward sustainability and self-sufficiency. This is a hard journey that we cannot expect anyone to make alone, or to go about in the same way; and one where we must prepare folks to tackle tough challenges when they are least expected.
As we climbed up two very steep passes, there were many different approaches our team took; some charged ahead quickly; others geared down and settled in to the long climb; and others (me) sought refuge in the support van when my body couldn’t take it any more. In each of these very different styles, the one thing we had in common was that we tackled this challenge with someone else by our side.
As we work to support individuals and families as they tackle huge challenges in their lives, or to ride our bikes 900 miles, the words of Ecclesiastes comes to mind: “a strand of three chords is not easily broken; when one falls down the other can help him up.”
Thanks for all that you do, through prayer support, financial gifts and volunteer efforts, to help the mission change lives in the name of Christ.