So in about 2 days I leave with my boxed bicycle on an international flight to England, once there I will cycle the length of the island, from top o’Scotland (John of Groates) to Land’s End. JOGLE.
Now for the scary part.
The last couple weeks leading up to this have been hectic and stressful. I’m not writing for sympathy (I’m probably also suffering from survivor guilt) or to say my circumstances are worse than others. I’m just saying that I really, really need this ride.
In January I sat down with myself and did a quick evaluation. What made me happy? Truly happy. Where was my sweet spot? And I wrote down: bicycling. For so many people when they hear what I’m about to embark upon, they laugh and say, that’s not a vacation.
The past 12 months have been rough: viz a viz relationships and writing (at the same time my critique group that I relied upon for feedback fell apart). I’ve needed to find the things that bring me back to a center, to a bit of hope.
It’s not the news—Syrian barrel bombs and gas attacks upon civilian populations, refugees, whole families drowning at sea, ISIS beheading hostages, Donald Trump, etc. Any number of these things got my adrenaline going in a very negative way. The helplessness I feel compounded with guilt, that I should be doing something.
Then the past couple of weeks. A woman crossing the street in front of Uptown Baptist Church, age 57, is shot and killed. Then Friday night a man walking in front of my building, age 55, gunned down. I am so angry at politicians, the system, the inability of justice, all the people who stand in the way of reasonable gun control. Until that time these senseless murders will keep happening. Then also last week a good friend’s husband SUDDENLY died. She heard a thump in the bathroom and that was it.
All this loss, pain, suffering built and built until Saturday I felt paralyzed. I literally had broken out into hives. People say to me, I couldn’t do what you do, meaning (I suppose) live in Chicago as a religious worker and try to make a difference, try to be peace to our neighbors. And, they’re right. This weekend I had to reevaluate—is this something I can continue doing? Is there still good I can do?
All I really know is this: in two days I will fly to England to ride my bike. I will be thinking of the many souls these past few weeks who have lost their life. I will say to myself: This is my now.