Some leftover odds & ends, and then a short reflection:
Names: Loyalist Highway (E. Ontario); a road sign divided into two halves that told the viewer everything he or she needed to know about this region: Art Trail ! Taste Trail; Carrying Place Cemetery (Carrying Place was the name of the town); Port Hope.
What doesn’t stop for a bike trip: birth, death, injury, re-commitment.
People: A family of 5 (!); a couple who decided to retire when they did because, though non-bikers, they felt the tug of God behind Sea to Sea; Thea and Sarah, the mother-daughter combo who “aimed for the moon and landed somewhere in the stars”; some fabulous couples that included one biker and one volunteer; the “65-and-over women”; some cool riding partnerships; the number of interesting young people; the 80-year-old man; the 71-year-old man who made the top 6 in the time trial; the mother of three who tied him; new friends; etc.
Profile: Al Karsten. Sea to Sea was Al’s brain child. One night I asked him as we were leaving the camp’s restroom if he would share his work history with me. (He had made it clear that he was not a detail-oriented person, something I could identify with, but I wondered how that had worked out in his work life.) He said his school history was more interesting. “How’s that?” I said. “Well, for starters,” he said, “I repeated 1st grade and then skipped grades 2 & 3.” Seeing my quizzical look, he explained that, being an immigrant child, the second time through 1st grade he had picked up enough English to do some 2nd grade work. His school was going to let him rejoin his original 1sr-grade classmates in 3rd grade. Then, when his parents moved him to a new school, that school didn’t have enough kids to offer 3rd grade so he was pushed into 4th. IIRC, he had a fairly straight march through 8th grade but then only did Grade 11 in high school. In the meantime, he spent 7 years as a butcher’s apprentice and then as a butcher. When he decided he needed more education, he either talked or tested his way into Grade 11. (He was also old enough by that time that he could drive the bus to school.) The next year he was at Calvin—a good reminder that the biggest part of education is desire, also that the unusual path might make more things visible than the usual one does.
Water: I’ve fallen in love with it—and with Ezekiel’s description of the fruit and healing it brings. Week 2 we were never separated from it. We rode along Lake Ontario from Hamilton beyond Toronto, then tracked alongside the St. Lawrence for the rest of the week. I missed the water when we rode south out of Montreal, but towards the end of the first day we could see Lake Champlain, the glorious divide between NY and Vermont. And then the Hudson River, leading out of it. And then the Atlantic. Awesome.
Biking & Poverty Analogy: The first step is the hardest, but we can go a long ways if we stay in community with each other and trust God’s grace one step or pedal stroke at a time..
Vacations: I’m not sure I ever want to do a vacation again that feels as if it’s just an “extra” or feels as if it’s suspended in air.
Sponsoring organizations: Such a blessing to encourage and be encouraged by Partners Worldwide and its amazing work in eastern Zambia, World Renew and its work in Bangladesh and in response to Hurricane Sandy, the Reformed Church and its Hospitality Place on Staten Island, at the forefront of Hurricane Sandy relief work as well as long-term development. Amazing organizations it was a blessing to ride for!
Two ideas: 1) Use a college intern to plot better routes, based on local bike groups’ recommendations. 2) Do a book of shaped interviews that could give not only the faces but also the voices of Sea to Sea—similar to Voices of Redemption, the book about Roseland Christian Ministries.
Final Quotes (4):
"Without the poverty of the cross, we are all left in abject poverty." Grand Rapids minister
"Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings." How to Help the Poor without Hurting Yourself or Them
"Poverty is first of all relational." Montreal urban minister
"You remembered us." Hurricane Sandy victim, one year later.
If you’re still reading, thanks for following along. It was an awesome trip that I hope changes us for life. Sweet assurance that God remembers us.