September 16, Day 76 of TheHopeLine Tour of 2014
On Sunday, we couldn’t wait to get away from the canned bicycle maps. They were sending us farther into Ozark country, with its beauty, but also with its steep hills and lack of services. We’d had enough of that. Fast forward to today: now what? How do we get to Cape Girardeau and back on the maps?
We began our route meandering under overcast skies. It was another day for lettered routes. If a route in Missouri is denoted with one letter (A), or a double letter (AA), it is a paved road with no shoulder and often light traffic. They call them “highways” (e.g., AA Highway), and you can count on plenty of rolling hills, if not curves thrown in for good measure. Such was the case today.
After 60-odd miles, we had arrived at Jackson, a sizeable suburb of Cape Girardeau. And it was close to the evening rush hour. We needed to dispense of the shoulderless lettered highways. I asked a lady outside a local store for advice.
“How many miles have you guys gone?” she asked.
“3,000! We started in Oregon.” I replied.
“Why would anyone do such a thing? I’m active and I like exercise, but I’ll do it at the gym. Aren’t you concerned about people texting while they drive?” She proceeded to inform us that her husband, who spent eight years in the legislature, was unable to get a bill passed to regulate cellphone use by Missouri drivers.
“Does this road have any shoulders on it? Is it okay to bicycle on?” I asked, while pointing to the adjacent Kings Highway, which had begun filling up with cars.
“You’re going to bicycle on THAT road?” she asked.
Eventually, we sorted out that the Kings Highway would be our safest route into Cape Girardeau. We did so without explaining to the lady that we had bicycled through a detour on an Interstate in Montana on the left-hand, three-foot shoulder into oncoming 65-mph traffic. It’s not that we weren’t concerned about the traffic and narrow shoulder on Kings Highway; it’s just that we’ve seen far worse. You assess the situation, collaboratively make your best judgment call, exercise caution, and then leave the rest up to the Lord. Her tolerance for this type of risk, or her choice of avoiding it, was clearly much different from our approach.
It seems we need to use the same decision-making model with any issues that we face in life. If we avoid all risk, where is the adventure…or the faith, for that matter? Recognizing that many things are beyond our control and placing our trust in a God who loves us and has a plan for our lives seems like the best approach to me. Wouldn’t you agree? If we let our fears rule us, we’ll never reach our full potential. So choose faith not fear.