Today was a doozy. I mean, who invented a 50-mile hill anyway? And, after 11 hours, 107 miles, cold, hot, wind, a few nasty drivers, zero to no shoulders, gravelly roads, and yet another hill, we were all totally exhausted.
Throughout the day, a Bible verse kept coming to mind, the one in James where it says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face miles of many kinds”. Wait, sorry, I think I got that wrong, too much biking on the brain. Its trials, not miles. Yet, for us today, the miles were the trials. And so, I am to consider these miles and trials pure joy? At first blush, I saw no opportunity for joy because I was so focused on me: my pain and the next hill to climb. But then, either from delirium or the Lord (or maybe both), my eyes and heart were opened to the opportunity to experience joy. I just needed to get beyond me.
First, I saw towering mountains, lush green meadows adorned with flowers, and rushing, clear water streams with fishermen plying their trade. I smiled. Secondly, I realized that biking tough miles like this is a metaphor for the tough trials our guests, the homeless and hurting, at the Denver Rescue Mission go through every day. Everyday. 750 miles of biking is nothing compared to 750 nights on the cold or hot, hard concrete of Denver and Fort Collins. Getting hungry or dehydrated for a short period of time on a bike, is nothing to going hungry and thirsty day after day. I realized also that just as coming into the hotel when done riding is a wonderful respite to cool off and re-charge, so too is the Denver Rescue Mission, an oasis, or respite where our guests are welcomed, cared for and where relationships and hope begin anew! I smiled again.
I also realized that the wonderful teammates I have on this journey are a true joy; each unique and each with gifts. I loved watching one of our team mates give a helping hand up a hill to another. They also love the work they do for the Denver Rescue Mission. I smiled. Finally, perhaps the greatest joy of today came unexpectedly. Tonight when we checked in here at the hotel in Ridgeway, the lady behind the desk noticed our Rescue Rider jerseys proudly displaying the Denver Rescue Mission (hard to miss with 10 people wearing them in a small town). She came over to tell me how she was homeless 10 years ago in Denver and that thanks to the Denver Rescue Mission, she is now employed, re-united with her family and doing fantastic in Ridgeway! She was so thankful! I really smiled on this one.
And to think I would not have had these “joys” if I hadn’t done the miles, er, trials! More opportunities for joy coming at me tomorrow!