Day 39 – Columbia, SC to Summerville, SC
Phew! Wow! I can’t believe it! 110 miles today and some scary times on the roads but it’s over. Fini! So I get to my room in the Middleton Inn and I call Cayce to tell her I was in my room and safe and sound and asked her where she and the Caseys and the Youngs were and she said “Middleton Place” and I was in shock because that is right next door (Cayce did not know where I was staying). So, as fate would have it on this glorious day, I got to see Cayce early (pictures below).
There’s also a funny picture below of my bicycle outside a shop I stopped at for a drink, a “bait and tackle” and “snack” stand. I couldn’t decide if I wanted a hamburger or crickets so I opted for a drink.
In essence, this trip is done as tomorrow’s ride is basically celebratory with a police escort through Charleston and on to the ocean for photos. So as I was out on the road for 8 hours today (damn, I’m glad that’s over) I thought through what the experience has taught me? The one lesson that stands out is how we seem to be losing the art of communication in today’s techno world. Here’s what I mean. My father-in-law, Bob Malone, is 84 and doesn’t have a computer and doesn’t text but he still wants to stay in touch. Cayce would print out my blog each day and fax it to him and he would call Cayce and talk about it. My oldest brother, Randall, has lost much of his sight but was very into my journey so his wife would read him the blog each day. Then Randall would call Cayce and want her input on how I was doing. My oldest sister, Shirley, doesn’t have computer access right now so our cousin, Dorothy, would call Shirley and read her the blog and relay Shirley’s thoughts to me via the blog. I actually wrote postcards to Bob, Randall, and Shirley and mailed them on rest days. What a gift it is to remember that our world of texting and e-mails will never be replaced by actual human contact. And so many of you who would not normally be in touch actually e-mailed or texted or passed messages along through Cayce and shared sentiments that touched me. The point is that we need to reach out to to those we love and share our feelings and please don’t forget that personal touch and conversation will never be replaced.
The most significant learning is that this epic challenge has changed my life, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I’ve grown as an individual understanding the importance of setting goals, planning, allowing for “reality,” ensuring a long enough time frame to allow better decisions to become habits, and not giving up. A parallel is that I see the importance of a support structure for all of us as we tackle difficult goals. Cayce, of course, was key for me but the biking group also provided tremendous support as there were days when I might have wanted to get in the van but seeing others take on the challenge or encourage me to stick with it kept me focused. Other days, I was the support for others. In the same way, all of you need a support system as you take on challenges. It’s difficult to go it alone.
I’ve been humbled by what all of you have done to sponsor WISER, Young Life Capernaum, and Project Goal. Please go back to the web site and read about the amazing work these groups do. Through your support, you are making a difference in this world. And please go back to the web site to honor your pledge via credit card or PayPal as soon as you can. I am trying to get an e-mail reminder out but it’s tough to squeeze that in.
This has been a very personal journey for me, obviously, and I am happy to have shared it with you and awed that so many people have been interested. Now I need to transition back to a “normal” life and as I do, I’ll be forever influenced by your kindness, support, interest, and love!
I’m happy and content right now! May God give me the strength to maintain that. More tomorrow, hopefully.