The thought that keeps coming to my mind is time. When on a bike, there is time to think about many things. Janet and I are able to talk about what we see, what we have been reading, or anything else. Even so, riding at least five hours a day gives time to think, reflect and pray. Over and over again, those quiet times have been focusing on time.
As we bike west, we start each day about 6:00, drinking coffee, eating breakfast, morning devotions and getting everything packed back into the bags. Then, by 8:00 we are on the bike riding. Yet, each morning, at 8:00, the sun was starting lower and lower each day. By Indiana, it was noticeably colder and sun lower. Then, going from one cornfield to the next, we crossed into Illinois. I looked down at my bike computer: the time had changed. A few miles later, my phone and watch had changed. Since we were on back roads, we didn’t see the sign “Welcome to Illinois.” Yet, our phone got the signal that we went from the Eastern Time Zone to the Central. We “gained” an hour.
Each year, when we fall back or spring ahead, a letter to the editor complains that the time should be set at “noon” when the sun is directly overhead. If that was the case, noon in Hermiston would be about 15 minutes before Portland. We accept the time of day by time zones to be able to schedule and plan with each other. We have a doctor’s appointment at 10:00. Let’s meet for lunch at 12:30.
Part of sabbatical is stepping back and forgetting about time and schedules. We get on the bike early to be able to get off before the heat of the day. We bike until we need a break, about 90 minutes into the ride. Then, another break when we are hungry for lunch. And, after a long day of riding, we often are asleep while the sun is still up.
In Joshua 1:9, God promised Joshua (and us) stating, “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” With the gift of the Holy Spirit, God is with us all the time. God is within us. Yet, we often do not give God the time. We think of time on the clock, instead of time with God. The word for time on a clock is called “Chronos.” There is another word for time, “Kairos.” This is the time that is deeper, richer, almost timeless. As I begin cycling across the cornfields, I am finding this qualitive time is where God is waiting to meet me. Waiting to meet you. May we take time, not on the clock, but Kairos time resting in the presence of God.
It has been a few days since I wrote the previous blog but thought I would still post it. We have travelled through Indiana, Illinois and are now in Iowa. Iowa City that is. We have been able to ride on many bike paths, back farm roads, and mostly away from traffic. Even the traffic has given us plenty of room. We stayed two nights with friends, John & Debbie Walker. John led the trip to Israel this past May. He also joined us for the first 20 miles along the path out of Ottawa. It was great to catch up with them. Coming into Iowa means we have crossed the Mississippi River. At Davenport, it flows east to west so we road along in for over 30 miles. As of today, we have cycled over 1,500 miles.