I’m back home but I don’t quite fit here. I left for two weeks riding on the back of my brother’s Harley, an adventure that I said yes to without really knowing what was involved. Mountains in Colorado, precious time with my brother, maybe a sore butt, this I anticipated. I wasn’t disappointed. But more, so much more came to me as well. On the bike, I found hours of alone time, hours of watching the land our God created and we are inhabiting pass by. I looked at gloriously golden fields of hay, at round bales waiting to be plucked up. I saw cows, thousands of cows, who saw me too, their hides glistening in the sun, huge eyes observing while they roamed the pastures that never seemed to end. Streams that became lakes, rivers that flowed up, waterfalls that gushed over rocks hidden between Aspen trees, glory showed up with each blink. I found even more though, I found me.
Across the country, I discovered a need for contact. I didn’t know this about myself. We never ever stopped without people coming up to us and asking where we are from, where we are headed, telling us about their travels. They told us about coming storms. Everyone wished us a safe trip. I have not one time said that to someone at a gas station . I expected to be judged as bikers, but I was guilty of the judging. I was shocked by the absolute friendliness we encountered, the graciousness of people of every color, gender, age, socioeconomic strata. People have stories, people want to hear stories. A sacredness existed with each stop, a new friend made, a human connection. It was beautiful. At first I just listened as my brother and his friend did the talking. As the miles racked up on the odometer though, I realized I was part of the story. I had a voice, I was worthy of not just listening but speaking as well.
So many years of hiding, trying to be invisible, to be quiet and just watch, meant my voice was a little hesitant, a bit rusty. My manners were off, I wasn’t as quick with the answers as someone so comfortable in their skin like my traveling companions. With each successful encounter my voice was stronger, I grew back into me. On the last morning, an older man pulled his car up to me as I was packing up the bike and asked for directions to a local tire place. Asked me for directions! The old me would have told him I wasn’t from around there, sorry. Instead, I pulled out my phone and found the shop, handed him the map and gave him the overview. My new friend was on his way with a wave and a honk. It seems so silly but I was seen, I didn’t pass him off to someone more capable.
I’m back home where my voice hasn’t always been heard or counted. I am back where I have to push a bit harder to remind those around me that I was talking, that I am here. I am new, I am different. Traveling does that. My next challenge is bringing the glory home, being visible in the everyday. I’m starting by waving at passersby and talking to folks at the gas station. We all have stories to tell, we all deserve to be listened to. Safe travels friends, I heard we might get some weather.