Endings

I never have liked endings — especially when it is the finish of something I really enjoy. Perhaps that is why as a child I would let my imagination take the story line from a favorite book or movie and write new plots to play. It was hard to let go of that magical feeling that a good story creates.

The 2010 Ride for Mike is ending. Today the cycling portion of the ride halted outside the church where Mike was a youth pastor at the time he passed away. It seems like just yesterday we left Tennessee where he was born and started the journey. At the same time, the crusty skin on my nose and sore spots on my bottom attest to lengthy session of sun and saddle.

My emotions grabbed hold of me the closer I got to the finish. Part of me said, “Pedal faster! Pedal faster! You are almost done!” Another part of me argued, “Slow down. Slow down. This adventure is about to end.” The result of the argument was a bittersweet arrival at my final destination.

I pulled up to the sign in front of the church and lifted my bike triumphantly above my head. A photo was taken and I put the bike back down on the ground. “Pssssssst!” The rear tire on the bike that I had ridden all the way from Greenville, South Carolina flatted.

The bike was having its say. It let out a final sigh. The trip was done.

Still, the ride isn’t over. All along this has been more about Michael T. and his family — along with the many people they represent who have similar stories. This aspect of the ride is a part that I knew was important, but this week has opened my eyes to how what I did served very much like a proxy for them. I have been humbled and yet blessed by the realization.

Tomorrow, Annette and I will go over to the church for a special service where I’m told my ride will feature. There will be a moment for friends of Mike to say some words and then I will also speak. The pastor will close out the service and it will be time for Annette and I to make our way back to our children in Greenville.

This evening I spent some time with Carl Kiger (a good friend of Michael T. in Apex), his family as well as Lora McCaskill and little Gracie. As Lora drove us back to the hotel, Annette was in the back seat have tickle fights with Gracie and I was trying to explain my vision of the future of the Ride for Mike to Lora.

I don’t know if I made any sense. The steak at the Angus Barn in Raleigh is excellent and every single drop of blood was going to my stomach to help haul the goodness away to other parts of my body. Yes, even though the blood was not getting as much oxygen as normal to my brain, I did say that there is a future for Ride for Mike.

I’ve already laid the ground work for the 2011 Ride for Mike. The 2010 version simply gave me a greater vision for what the future can be. Here is a hint… in 2011 I will be riding for Mike. In 2011, who will YOU be riding for?

I told you I don’t like endings. So, when one book finishes, it is time to write a new one. That is one good thing about an ending… it opens the door to another beginning.