Monday, January 27, 2014

Unexplainable Deep Sorrow - when does it end?

January 27, 2014

What an emotional morning yesterday was.  Steve’s family was back at church minus the youngest because he had to get back to school.  I saw them when I first pulled in and said hello to the oldest and felt good about how the morning would progress.  Then during the worship singing portion I looked over and the middle one came in with his girlfriend.  A real freaky thing happened next and it pretty much pushed me over the edge – I looked out the side window into the parking lot and saw someone walking towards the narthex in a black overcoat like Steve used to wear.

It was at that exact point I realized that it could not be Steve and Steve would never make that walk again in the state that we all knew him in.  I had to walk out of church and go to the bathroom and try and gain my composure again.  When I returned I looked up into our stained glass window about the pulpit area and thought I saw a shadow fly up past it towards the sky.

Let me preface this by saying I am not typically one to believe in ghosts or spirits outside of the Holy Spirit (or Ghost whichever you prefer to recognize that portion of the Trinity by) but I just felt like God was there reminding me that Steve was in a better place now and that the tears I have are good tears because I miss him and his personality.

After service I went and spoke with the boys and Steve’s wife and then headed out for the day.  My wife was trying to get me to talk about what happened at church but I just wasn’t in the place emotionally to discuss it (pretty typical to be honest with you) so I just told her I was fine and that we would chat later.

It amazes me that I am still so affected by his death.  I look back and about what type of friendship that we had and I wonder if I feel guilty that he is gone and was so vibrant but my father is still around and really serves no purpose in his catatonic state of mind (not being mean – just putting it to words).  Why does God feel the need to keep my dad here and take Steve away when Steve was serving His Kingdom and winning souls for the Lord while my dad cannot even feed himself or do anything else for himself?  In the end, there is no answer to that question and I will continue on my journey and contemplate Steve and his impact on earth with all the hearts that he touched with God’s love!

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Pain of Sorrow & It's Healing Powers

January 24, 2014

I was checking Facebook yesterday and I received a message from my buddy/pastor asking how my father was doing.  So I gave him the update and then asked how he was doing because he knew Steve quite well and I knew it bothered him as much as it bothered me.  He thanked me for asking, said he felt like crawling in a hole, but knew that the Lord has some words for him to share this coming weekend at church.

My reply was along the same lines but I don’t crawl in holes – I feel like jumping on my bike, loading a trailer up, and just riding away into the sunset and find what lies outside my comfort zone beyond the horizon of despair.  We both know that crawling into a hole or riding off into the sunset is not even remotely possible but at times like this in life it is “the easy way” to handle life.

What would you benefit and how would that benefit society?  Today’s society is ruled by the thoughts of not showing your emotion and not letting anyone know how you truly feel about a situation.  But what happens when you share with someone how much pain you are feeling and how you wish that the scenario played out differently.  Maybe they never heard anyone express pain or sorrow in their life and you opened their eyes to a level of compassion and love that they never knew existed!

At the end of the day we are going to experience pain and how you handle it will mold your body and soul into what the Lord has in store for it.  It may be hard to be thankful at that time in your life but when you come across someone in need of your words then you might catch a glimpse of exactly why a scenario played out the way it did.  I know when I am back in Redondo Beach in 10 days I will be contemplating many things but riding off into the sunset won’t win out!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


My mom in her younger days and then in her older days prior to her death - this woman carried a lot of anger!
January 22, 2014

I honestly don’t know what hurts more the fact that everyone says they realize how close we were or the fact that I don’t think we were really that close.  I have closer friends that I would have reached out to in time of need before Steve only because I know he was not that handy. 

But Steve was also the kind of guy that I would purposely seek out on Sunday when I saw him and would actually go out into the parking lot just to say hi to him and catch up real quick.  But if I didn’t see him I didn’t feel at a loss I just figured I would catch up with him next week.  You know what though – next week never came again and now I am left remembering our last conversation and also how good his sons did on his eulogy last week.

There comes a time in everyone’s life that you make a decision about continuing relationships or friendships and those are always difficult times.  A person you felt close to might have done you wrong and you feel the only way to overcome it is by stopping all communication with them.  Honestly though what does that solve because generally the person that stops the communication is the only one that realizes something is wrong.

I guess the point of today’s writing is that forgiveness is difficult but carrying around a lot of anger will never make you happy.  If there is someone out there that you are angry at do the right thing and calmly explain to them what made you angry and ask for their forgiveness about being angry at them and I guarantee you will feel a whole lot better!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Pact

Riding into CP#1 TransIowa V8
January 21, 2014

The Pact was made between friends last night after speaking about the passing of Steve – we would both be around until our 80’s so that we didn’t have to bury anyone this young out of our core group of friends.  Sure we don’t have any control over death but it sounds like a great idea to reduce the pain of the loss of a good friend.

How many close friends do you have that you would truly miss if they passed away before you felt it was time?  Last night I came up with 10 or so that I would truly miss.  I also contemplated about how many I would travel for to pass my regrets onto their family if something happened.  Most of these guy’s spouses wouldn’t even know me but I would still feel obligated to travel just because of the bond that happened during the course of our lives.

The bonding event for me is generally a race or endurance event that I participated in.  Trans-Iowa always jumps out at me because of the camaraderie that is required to attempt finishing the beast of a race that Trans-Iowa is.  First off though is my bike tour buddy and great friend Todd whom I spent 28 days with so our bond is deeper than words can say!  At V5, I met Eric from Florida and we still keep in touch and always talk about doing a crazy race again sometime in the future.  IronMike came into my life during prep work for the Underground Railroad Bike Tour and is another that jumps out at me.  Single Speed Scott from V8 was a smooth riding tough guy from Nashville that always has a smile on his face.  Guitar Ted race director of TI is most definitely travel worthy just because of his awesome heart and all that he does to make TI a great event!  These are just some quick names that jump out at me while pondering the pact so don’t be mad if I didn’t list you because more than likely if you are reading this you are on my list!

But do us both a favor and don’t test me until we hit our 80’s please!

Grand Arrival Underground Railroad Bike Tour

Monday, January 20, 2014


Trail to North Rim Grand Canyon
January 20, 2014

What makes a person set a goal in the first place?  Is it something they heard from a friend and they want to experience it or just something you heard about and realized that your life would be different if you attained that goal? 

Everyone has goals but does everyone have a plan in place that will help you achieve those goals?  I had a boss say to me one time – Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail.  I am not generally into Dilbert Talk but I always held onto that saying.  I don’t always follow through with it but as the title of the blog says if you aren’t learning then what are you doing? 

If you don’t fail or just make mistakes then how are you going to become a better person?  Peyton Manning is going back to the Super Bowl this year.  People talked of his legacy and how it would be tarnished if he didn’t reach and, quite possibly, win another Super Bowl before he retired.  The majority of people that say this have never played in one professional football game much less the playoffs where you are one and done, and least of the Super Bowl where only 1 team wins each year.

Do you think Peyton Manning never set a goal of playing in the Super Bowl again?  I am sure that every workout that he goes through has one common goal to it – winning the final football of each football season and being Super Bowl champion!  Let me tell you your goal is as big as winning the Super Bowl and you need to put daily emphasis on it like you were training to win the Super Bowl.

In the above image you see the North Rim of the Grand Canyon – a goal of mine was to hike to it from the canyon bottom and let me tell you I wanted to turn around many a time that day but kept pushing myself so I could see what it looked like and to be able to say congratulations Bill you accomplished one of your goals!

Don’t ever sell yourself short – you are capable of accomplishing that goal you have on paper or in your mind right now.  Put a plan of action together right now and Godspeed!

I made it - now to head back down!