Thanks

My cross-country trip is ending in a way that I did not expect.

Last night I had the honor of spending time with a friend and his family. He just had some great news from a doctor. It was one of those trips to the doctor that could have gone either way. He gathered his sons and wife close to him to have dinner and talk about what had just happened. It had gone well. Very well. They celebrated together. They celebrated with each other. They celebrated because their lives had each experienced a rattle that shook them up enough to appreciate what they had.  They saw the miracle of what they take for granted each and every day.

I think, the time spent on the road didn’t open up any windows where I could peer into heaven. It didn’t give me insight into who I really, Really, REALLY am. No angel appeared with a sword in hand advising me to not go down a certain road.

As I was riding through the Black Hills of South Dakota I took a scenic diversion route (Some may call it a wrong turn but I was on my motorcycle so it doesn’t count). I went up through a shaded valley floor lined with occasional houses with their backs up against the hills. Every time someone came out the front door of their house, they had a view of a gorgeous creek meandering down through the center of a perfect green valley pasture, and trees reaching up toward the sky, and rocky gray cliffs serving as home to deer, elk, and bear. As I rode up through this community I wondered if they ever stepped out and didn’t notice how incredibly blessed they were. The thought of being surrounded by so much… and yet allowing the urgency of daily moments to cloud it over …it rolled around in my brain for the rest of the trip. I wondered how many times I’ve missed a moment of beauty, grace, love, or compassion because I’ve been focused on being on time, making sure I got my fair share, or simply missing the fact that I’ve always had so much more than I could ever deserve.

Last night I thought about it again. When I was around the table with my friends laughing with relief and joy, relishing the moment given to them.

As I stepped out onto the sand of the Oregon coast, I took the bottle of water I had been carrying since leaving Tybee Island and poured it into the Pacific. It was a marker. Another year and another milestone accomplished from the bucket list. I’m tired. I’m relieved. I’m a bit giddy at times thinking that it’s over, and remembering a few of the roads I’ve travelled.

Maybe the loudest concept speaking in my soul right now is to not take any ordinary moment for granted. There are none. Outside my door is a world of miracle after miracle after miracle. Inside my house is an opportunity to thoughtfully and humbly be grateful for each friend, each rare-precious-beautiful loved one. I have been given the ability to be aware of each conscious breath I take inside a living machine I did not build and do not have a long-term lease to operate.

Thank you, God, for letting a fool like me see a few of the things you have made and love. It’s been a great ride. So far.IMG_5043

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16 thoughts on “Thanks

  1. Beautiful words Greg! Thanks for sharing this journey with us. This country that God created is so beautiful. What a great reminder to not take the things we are blessed with for granted.

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  2. Glad you made it safe. Wonderful words in this post. I attempt to have present moment awareness each moment, each day. Doing so helps appreciate what we have right now, in this moment.

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  3. Happy you took time in your busy life to take this private sojourn. A time to reflect, enjoy, be inspired, get close to God in a special way, and share your heart. It appears time well spent! I think you should get a sidecar (a BIG sidecar), if I can push Lynn out of it you can take me along the next time! Going along as a passive observer on a blog is cool but the trip would be cooler! Have a safe trip home.

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  4. Since you poured that water in the Pacific Ocean I’ve noted some climactic shifts on the east coast. Global cooling- the DNC has taken up arms against the condition: the NRA has thanked you for diverting the DNC’s attention to something more meaningful.

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  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, knowing how difficult it is to put such an incredible experience into words. I’ll need to find time to start from the beginning of your trip and follow along.
    Years ago, my son and I drove across the country and back. I absolutely loved the Black Hills! Can’t wait to ride across on the bike.

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